Ned Nwoko demands N10bn, apology from Premium Times over land-grabbing reports

Ned Nwoko

Former federal lawmaker Ned Nwoko has threatened to drag Premium Times to court over reports he described as “libelous”.

Mr Nwoko made the threat in a letter seen by the news media on Saturday which was dated May 17, signed by Onyeka Nwokolo on behalf of Nwoko’s lawyers and addressed to the managing director of the online newspaper.

The businessman demanded N10 billion as damages and public apology after the newspaper reported he allegedly grabbed lands from a community in Delta.

“In one of such publications dated 5th Dec. 2020 and captioned ‘How ex-lawmaker, Ned Nwoko grabbed community’s land, dislodged poor farmers’, you maliciously and falsely stated that Ned Nwoko a billionaire and former lawmaker from Delta State grabbed four acres of farmland of Ninety-year-old Oghedo Ogodi which she inherited from her husband,” the letter read.

“Furthermore, the malicious and false fabrications contained in your other publication of 12th Dec. 2020 captioned: ‘How massive land grab by ex-lawmaker Ned Nwoko ignited fatal violence in Delta Community’. Your references to our client as a land grabber who will not stop at nothing in order to take over people’s lands gravely profiles him as an invader…our client unequivocally denies all the allegations you made against him in the said publications, and other publications by you on same subject…all of which were intended to drag his integrity to the mud. On the contrary, our client followed laid down processes in the acquisition of lands in Idumuje-Ugboko.

“The publications you made were read by the public within and outside Nigeria and it has cost our client his reputation as well-meaning Nigerians are beginning to look at our client with contempt and disdain and he is being ridiculed and openly embarrassed as a land grabber and extortionist.”

Highlighting their demands, Nwoko’s lawyers said in the letter, “that you publish in two national newspapers, as well as, in your online News media statements retracting the earlier libellous publications of 5th and 12th December 2020 with an unreserved apology and the sum of 10 billion Naira only be paid to our client as compensation for the malicious, false and disparaging publications.”

“This letter should be taken as a pre-action notice to you peradventure you choose not to heed to our client’s demands,” they added.