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Nigeria: Ex-Central Bank chief sues Senate president for defamation, demands $526k



Ex-Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, versus Senate President, Godswill Akpabio

The embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has launched a legal battle against the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, for defamation.

Counsel to Emefiele, Matthew Burkaa, SAN, served notice of the suit to the Senate President on February 21, 2024.

According to Burkaa, his client is demanding N1 billion (about 526 United States Dollars at $1 = ₦1,900) in damages from Akpabio.

In the notice to the Senate President dated February 19, 2024, Emefiele, through Burkaa, faulted a statement credited to Akpabio on February 18, 2024.

Akpabio had, during a thanksgiving service by Senator Barinada Mpigi in Koroma, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday, said that Emefiele left the Nigerian economy in a mess and that the Federal Government does not know the charges to levy against him.

Emefiele considered Akpabio’s comment as “false, distorted and clearly aimed at disparaging his character and indeed made in bad faith”.

Burkaa noted that contrary to Akpabio’s claim, the Federal Government had since August 14, 2023, proffered charges against Emefiele, who has in turn, pleaded not guilty of the said allegations.

Burkaa in his letter to Akpabio said: “Your statement attributing the present economic woes of the country solely on Our Client is most appalling and exposes the inaccuracies in Your assertions, especially, as you were a major player in the immediate Past Administration and worked closely with Our Client and indeed witnessed the innovations he introduced in the banking sector and its impact on the economy whilst in office, as well as the role he played despite all odds in salvaging Nigeria in the P & ID Saga and the positive result it brought for Nigeria.”

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He continued:

“You are also aware that no single policy was carried out by Our Client without the approval, directive or authorization of the President and/or the Federal Executive Council of which you were a key and powerful member.

“These baseless and false allegations clearly defames the character of Our Client and has also caused him great pains and embarrassment as it has lowered his esteem before the right thinking members of the Society in addition to the obvious odium and opprobrium from the unsuspecting members of the Society as a result of the falsity contained in that statement.

“We therefore have Our Client’s further instruction to demand from you an unreserved apology in writing, published and circulated by the same medium with which you have defamed his character and the sum of one billion Naira (N1,000,000,000) as reasonable compensation for the willful and unjustifiable denigration of his hard-earned reputation.

“In the event that you fail, refuse or neglect to comply with this legitimate demand, Our Client will be at liberty to seek the appropriate redress available to him under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

See the document attached below:

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