A Nigerian cleric, Emmanuel Omale, has threatened to sue the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) for an alleged defamatory report claiming he bought a landed property worth N573 million in Dubai on behalf of the suspended EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu.
In a Monday letter to the NAN management by Mr Omale's lawyer, Gordy Uche, he said the report "reeks of calumny, denigration, actuated by malice, and is calculated to ridicule and disparage him and cast a stain on his reputation."
Mr Omale said he only visited the suspended EFCC boss in hospital in Dubai where he prayed for him.
The cleric, however, said that he does not own a foreign bank account as indicated in the report. He is, therefore, seeking N1 billion in damages if the news outfit failed to meet certain demands.
NAN on Saturday had published a presidential committee report that audited the EFCC between 2015 and 2020 stating that Mr Omale was used "as an instrument for the embattled EFCC boss to launder money".
Mr Omale, who is the General Overseer of 'Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries International', Abuja, requested the government-owned newspaper to retract the publication "which had severely injured his reputation, character and calling."
"We, however, wish to make the following clarifications to put the public records straight: That our client is the General Overseer of an Inter-denominational/Multi-religious Prayer Ministry.
"That our client, only visited Mr. Ibrahim Magu in a hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, sometime in March 2020.
"That our client never laundered any funds whatsoever for Mr. Ibrahim Magu or for anybody whatsoever. Our client does not own any foreign bank account anywhere in the world.
"That there are no funds whatsoever traceable from Mr Ibrahim Magu to our client's bank accounts whatsoever neither has our client received any funds whatsoever from Mr Ibrahim Magu. Our client has never received any funds whatsoever from anybody on behalf of Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
"That our client does not own any property in Dubai. His name was never used to purchase any property whatsoever in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, or anywhere else in any part of the world, neither has he purchased any property nor properties for Mr. Ibrahim Magu in any part of the world whatsoever."
"We, therefore, demand the immediate retraction of the libelous publication by way of an unequivocal APOLOGY to our client prominently published in at least three (3) National Newspapers not later than 7 (seven) days from the date of your receipt of this letter and that you restrain from further defamation of our client forthwith otherwise, a libel suit against NAN will commence you, your organization, claiming the sum of N1, 000,0000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) as exemplary, aggravated, general damages for defamation, and for an injunction if you fail to comply.
"Further take notice that this letter constitutes our formal notice of intention to sue," the court document partly reads.
Mr Magu is currently being interrogated by a panel headed by Ayo Salami, former president of the appeal court over allegations of corruption and insubordination levelled against him. The allegations were made by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
He was arrested last week Monday and has remained in detention as the panel is yet to conclude its work.