The publisher of The lnk newspaper, Mr Nsibiet John, is to be sued for alleged libelous publication against Mr Umana Okon Umana, managing director of the Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority (OGFZA), if the Uyo-based publisher fails to apologise to Umana and pay him N500 million in compensation for the damage that the said libelous publication has caused him.
In a letter of demand for financial compensation and notice of law suit to The Ink publisher, Messrs. Victor Iyanam & Co., solicitors to Mr Umana, complained that the said newspaper in its edition dated Wednesday 17th October 2018—Tuesday 23rd October 2018 published a false streamer against Umana with the title, “I won’t commit fully to Nsima’s ambition—Umana Umana tells supporters.”
Nsibiet John, publisher of The Ink newspaper, is known for publishing false stories to malign leaders in Akwa Ibom State and impugn the integrity of other distinguished members of the society. He is currently facing a serious criminal charge in a court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for false publication against the Deputy Governor of the State, Chief Moses Ekpo. Sometime last year, Mr John was detained by the police for false publication.
In the current case, Umana’s lawyers told The Ink publisher: “The caption of your Newspaper aforesaid and the offending paragraphs portray our client as vindictive, vengeful and dishonest, to say the least. The caption, when read along with the rest of the maligning story, was clearly scandalous; depicting our client as one engaging in surreptitious and subversive activities aimed at scuttling the plans and programmes of his political associates in the All Progressive Congress (APC) and particularly depicting him as untrustworthy and a deviant.
“The publication under reference was calculated to and has indeed brought our Client to ridicule, disrepute and odium.
“No person deserves the wanton destruction of his reputation in the manner as malicious as you have done. You have quite plainly profited by the boost in the sale and distribution of the libelous content of your Newspaper throughout Nigeria and through the internet, to the whole wide world!”
The publisher was asked to pay N500 million in damages to Umana, in addition to an “Unreserved apology to be published within seven days on the front page of your Newspaper and given equal prominence as the Libel,” failing which “our further instructions are to proceed against you in the High Court without any further Notice.”