Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, has written to Mr. Femi Fani Kayode (FFK) and Governor Ayodele Fayose’s aide, Lere Olayinka, over allegation that he owns the $43million (N13billion) recently seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State.
According to the minister, who wrote through his lawyer, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), he said that he had been defamed by FFK’s and Olayinka’s claims.
He demanded N500million from FFK as compensation for the alleged malicious posts on his twitter handle on April 14.
He also demanded two separate sum of N750million from Olayinka, Governor Fayose’s aide, as compensation for two alleged malicious posts on his facebook and twitter handle on April 14.
According to Fagbemi in the letter, he noted that FFK as a lawyer knew that he ought to approach the Land Registry where there were proper records of property owners and verify the ownership of the apartment where the $43million was found in.
FFK had on his twitter handle said that the NIA story was fake news, adding that NIA does not keep cash in minister’s flats.
“The $43m is Rotimi Amaechi’s. He owns the flat (where) it was found in too.” FFK tweeted after the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) had claimed the money.
Amaechi’s lawyer said that the statement was a lie and that it was aimed at destroying the integrity of his client who was a two-term Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and two-term Governor of the state.
The letter to FFK reads below in part;
“The story as uploaded by you is to your knowledge, blatantly false, malicious and aimed at impeaching the credit of our client, a two – time Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, two – time Governor of Rivers State and current Minister of the Federation.
“Our client neither owns the house where the cash was found nor the cash and your story and claim are unfounded. As a matter of fact, our client does not own any house in Lagos State, talk more of keeping cash in one and your story is preposterous.
“We observe that as a lawyer, you ought to know that anyone who desires to know who owns any property, especially in a world-class land documentation system like Lagos State, should avail himself of the facilities by conducting a diligent search in the land registry.
“You intentionally failed to do so as to achieve your malicious aim. For the umpteenth time, let it be known that out client, Rotimi Amaechi has no house anywhere in Lagos.
“We have our client’s mandate to state to you unequivocally that the said twitter publication constitutes libel, and is defamatory of him as the claim is aimed at impugning our client’s character and credits in the eyes of right thinking Nigerians and foreigners. As a matter of fact, the media has been awash with the news since you made your claim.
“In view of the foregoing and in the spirit of a second chance, we have our client’s instruction to give you an ultimatum of seven days from the receipt of this letter to issue an apology in five national dailies and on your twitter handle.
“Your apology, which should be heartfelt, must be a total withdrawal of your claim and its imputation must also contain an expression of deep regret for this unwarranted attack and contain a complete retraction of the false statement of yours.
“We also demand from you a sum of N500 million as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim. Please note that the demand may increase with time if you fail to address the situation as expected. Failure to do any of these would be met with stiff legal actions which your defamatory act deserves.”
To Governor Fayose’s aide who he demanded N750million from he said;
“Your baseless assertion that our client bought a flat for one Mo Abudu, whom you also claim to be his girlfriend raises the assertion that our client is adulterous and unfaithful to his marital vows. This is disparaging of our client’s nobility and puts into doubt his character as a good family man.
“Let it be known again that our client Rotimi Amaechi has no girlfriend whatsoever and your story has just been made to tarnish our client’s image and name which he has worked assiduously to build all his life…”
Chief Femi Fani Kayode (FFK), in his reaction to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi’s threat to sue him over his post on his twitter account over the $43million found in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State said that; “We have been inundated with calls concerning about a threat by Rotimi Amaechi to sue Chief Fani-Kayode for defamation over the $43 million issue.
‘’We are not in any sleep over this matter. We have not received any court processes or letters from Amaechi but when we do so, our lawyers will respond vigorously and appropriately.’’
Also, Governor Ayodele Fayose’s aide, Lere Olayinka, in his own reaction said that he was not aware of any suit.
“I am not aware of any letter, I am not aware of any suit.”