The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has given former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and a media aide to Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, Lere Olayinka a seven day ultimatum to withdraw their allegation which linked him to the seized Ikoyi N13 billion or face legal action.
He said he would only drop the legal option if they publicly apologised and paid him the sum of N1.25 billion compensation.
The Minister made the demand in separate letters dated 14th April, 2017, written through his lawyer, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN).
Fagbemi also said his client has never owned a home in Lagos state, and that the “misleading information” was capable of tarnishing Amaechi’s reputation.
The lawyer stated, “The story as uploaded by you is to our knowledge, blatantly false, malicious and is aimed at impeaching the credit of our client, a two-time speaker of the Rivers state of house of assembly, a two-time governor of Rivers state and current minister of the federation,” read a letter sent to both men.
“Our client neither owns the house where the cash was found and your story and claim are unfounded.”
Amaechi’s counsel said the publication constitutes a libel and is defamatory “aimed at impugning our client’s character and credit in the eyes of Nigerians and foreigners.”
Fagbemi also warned that there would be stiff legal actions should Fani-Kayode and Olayinka fail to adhere to the demand over the alleged defamatory acts.
The lawyer quoted the offensive aspect of Fani-Kayode and Olayinka respectively tweets as, “The $43 million is Rotimi Amaechi’s. He owns the flat it was found in (sic) too. NIA’s story is fake news! NIA does not keep cash in minister’s flats.”
“The Osborne Towers, a luxury residential complex in Ikoyi, Lagos, where EFCC said it found $43,449,987, 27,800 pounds N23,218,000 on Wednesday is owned by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Apart from the demand for an apology from the duo to be published in five national dailies and their Twitter handle, Amaechi specifically asked for the sum of N500 million from Fani-Kayode “as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim”.
He, however cautioned that the amount might increase should Fani-Kayode fail to address the situation as expected, while Olayinka was asked to also apologise in five national dailies and pay the sum of N750 million “as compensation for the malicious and defamatory claim” on his (Olayinka) Twitter handle.
However, in a swift response through his media aide, Jude Ndukwe, the former minister denied knowledge of the letter, stating when he get it his lawyers will respond “vigorously and appropriately”.
He said, “We have been inundated with calls concerning about a threat by Rotimi Amaechi to sue Chief Fani-Kayode for defamation over the 43 million USD issue.
“We are not losing any sleep over this matter.
“We have not received any court processes or letters from Ameachi but when we do so our lawyers will respond vigorously and appropriately.