FORMER HOUSE OF REPS MEMBER, OTUNBA DINO MELAYE
SAN FRANCISCO, May 21, (THEWILL) – Boisterous self proclaimed anti-corruption crusader and former member of the House of Representatives, Otunba Dino Melaye, who is also the Executive Secretary of Anti-corruption Network, a non-governmental organisation, has been dragged before an Abuja High Court by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), over alleged libel.
In a suit number CV/3227/13, dated May 16, 2013 and filed on May 17, 2013, Adoke is praying the court to order Melaye and his NGO to pay him the sum of N10billion as damages for alleged libel, and another N2000 million as cost of litigation.
The AGF is also asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining, Melaye and his anti-corruption network from further publishing libelous stories about him or from
further inferring in any manner whatsoever to his reputation.
Adoke said he felt pained when Melaye described him as a dishonourable
person who associates himself with criminals and economic saboteurs,
and that even though he (Adoke) is a top government official is sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government to tackle the menace of corruption.
Though no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit, the case is considered in legal circles as a landmark as it is the first time in the history of the country that the chief law officer of the Nigeria will be suing in his own capacity in a whopping N10.2bn suit.
Adoke has also engaged the services of 11 lawyers, including four
Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), led by the chairman of the
governing council of the Legal Aid Council, Chief Bolaji Atorinde (SAN) as well as
other senior advocates including Donald Denigwe, Babajide Koku and Ahmed
Raji based in the United Kingdom, to pursue the case.
Meanwhile, the Police authority has given the AGF the go-ahead to embark on the case against Melaye.
In a reply to Adoke’s lead counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN)’s letter asking the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to conduct
a discreet investigation into the case, the police in a letter signed by Commissioner of Police (X-Squad), CP Ali
Amodu, of the Force Headquarters, Abuja said: “It is apparent
from the foregoing that, the failure of Otunba Melaye and his organisation to come forward and substantiate these grave allegations is an indication that they have nothing to offer, and consequently,
the law of our land should take its full course.
“It is therefore the
advice of the IGP that your law firm can proceed to file direct criminal libel charges against Melaye and his organisation. Meanwhile, the police case file is being kept in view pending further development on this issue, please.”
But Melaye , who seems unperturbed by the magnitude of the case, said “We are yet to be served but as soon as we are served with court
processes, we will consult with our lawyers.”
According to the anti-corruption crusader, “ This move by the AGF will
not be an escape route for him. He has tried using the Nigerian Police, but we punctured his gimmicks. Now he thinks going to court, he
will intimidate us. But let me assure you that legal approach or action
will only indict Adoke further.”
In a statement of claims submitted at the court, Adoke had stated that his attention was
drawn to the defamatory media report published in a national newspaper by his son, Habib Mohammed Bello; his Senior Special Assistant, Prof. Peter Akper (SAN); and his colleague and friend, Mr. Damien Dodo
“The plaintiff avers that his attention was drawn by his son, Habib
Mohammed Bello, one Prof. Peter Akper (SAN) and another colleague, Mr Damien Dodo OFR, SAN to defamatory stories published about the
plaintiff at page 45 of the LEADERSHIP Newspaper of 12th April, 2013
and another online publication by Sahara Reporters on the 11th of
April, 2013,” the statement of claims said.