Alleged N10Bn Scam:  Afegbua Hits Secondus again in another Explosive Exchange

May 7, 2021
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By Ngozi Ekhator

Former information commissioner in Edo State and member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Kassim Afegbua, has again punched his party’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.

Secondus and Afegbua are locked in legal battle over the latter’s allegation that a whopping N10billion belonging to PDP has not been properly accounted for under the watch of the former as national chairman.

Secondus, in pursuit of Justice, wrote Afegbua demanding apology and N1billion in damages.

But Afegbua, who is not prepared to entertain any of the demands and desirous of pushing through his quest for a thorough probe into the books of the party by anti-corruption agencies, has replied Secondus and threatened a counter-claim of N3billion in damages.

See details as scooped by metrowatchonline.com …

KACCL/LET/AS/04/42                                                                    30th April, 2021

The Principal Counsel,

Emeka Etiaba S.A.N, Etiaba & Co.

BMC Law House,

No. 3 Kibuyu Close,

Off Nairobi Street,

Off Aminu Kano Crescent,

Wuse II, Abuja.

Attention:

Emeka Etiaba SAN, FCIArb

RE: CASE OF DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER OF PRINCE UCHE SECONDUS: NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 We act as Solicitors to Prince Kassim Afegbua (hereinafter referred to as “Our Client”) and it is on his firm and unequivocal instructions that we make the following representation.

1.2 We write in response to your Letter of 29th April, 2021 to Our Client wherein you demanded for a retraction of the purported publication allegedly made by him in Daily Trust Newspapers (sic) of Tuesday April 27, 2021 and Daily Sun Newspapers (sic) of Tuesday, April 27, 2021 and same has been forwarded to our Law Firm.

1.3 Upon a careful perusal of same with the finery of a tooth comb, we are compelled to reply same in order to put you in the right perspective and for you to properly advise your Client.

2.0 OUR CLIENT’S RESPONSE

2.1 Firstly, it is important to state pronto and very clearly too that our Client denies every allegation contained in your Letter under reference, particular the allegation that he authorized the publications of the alleged information on the Newspapers as spuriously stated and cannot take responsibility for whatsoever published in the said Newspapers which have constitutional duty to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people as enshrined in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

2.2 It is also interesting to note that our Client is neither a Publisher, Editor nor Director of any of the Newspapers where the said information was published. His action is accurate, does not reasonably and absolutely imply what your Client alleges it does, and above all, Our Client’s action constitute protected and privileged deed.

2.3 What is more, the issues raised by our Client in his Petition to Law Enforcement Agencies were in the public domain and arising from the forensic audit report of the Party. They qualify as fair comments on the matter of public interest.

2.4 Be that as it may, our Client as a concerned Citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a Member of the Peoples Democratic Party has a constitutional, statutory and moral duty to report suspected criminal conduct to Law Enforcement Agencies for investigation and apprehension.

2.5 We respectfully commend you to the case of Ezeugo v Agim (2015) LPELR-24572 (CA) where the Court held as follows:

The Law is settled that in this country a citizen who believes that a crime has been or is likely to be committed by a person either against him or another citizen is entitled to report the matter to the Police and how the Police go about the performance of their duties in investigating the matter is at their discretion and not the burden of the complainant.”

2.6 Sir, also in the case of Fajemirokun vs Commercial Bank (Credia Lybnnais) Nig Ltd (2009) 5 NWLR (Pt 1135) 558 at 600 the Apex Court further held that the citizens cannot be held culpable for doing their duty. Hence, our Client has only performed his obligation to report suspected infraction of the Law to the appropriate authorities and cannot be held liable for such.

2.7 The essence of a libel claim, of course, is the protection of one’s reputation. Your Client has made much ado about being “not only a decent gentleman but a Minister of the Gospel of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, a Mentor, Grandfather, Father and a loving Husband.” He also bragged that he is “a statesman who has devoted his time to the nurturing of our democracy and the PDP (as has been so heralded by the members of the Party)”

2.8 Our Client is not unaware of series of petitions and allegations against your Client which are currently under investigation by both National and Foreign Law Enforcement Agencies (he shall unravel same at the appropriate forum). Similarly, his confessional statement and almost two weeks detention when he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2016 on the allegation of illegal receipt of 25 luxury vehicles is quite instructive and pungent on this matter. We therefore do not see how our Client’s lawful and privileged Petition to Law Enforcement Agencies has affected the reputation of your Client which he has already created for himself through his words and actions.

2.9 It is also rather axiomatic that your Client in your Letter under reference never denied the bona fide suspicion of our Client but rather embarked on a flamboyant voyage of egocentrism and self-imagery. It would have been a disservice not just to the members of the People’s Democratic Party but to democracy itself to silence our Client’s voice.

2.10 Our Client has done what the law permits him to do by petitioning relevant Law Enforcement Agencies about a subject of deep public concern. If your Client believes that he is innocent of the allegations against him, he should approach the constituted authority and absolve himself rather than raising arguments frivolously fritted on the altar of making needless point.

2.11 We wish to further state more emphatically that prior to the receipt of your Letter by our Client, same has been published in print and electronic media and read by the public. If your Client wants to protect his image as claimed, why would he publish a legal correspondence in print and electronic media? What was supposed to have been a solemn declaration was transmogrified into a musical concert or show of comedy, social recklessness and public superciliousness.

2.12 A cursory look at the evasive, misleading and defamatory Letter which is being circulated in several print and electronic media, including the intent and purport thereof clearly portrayed our Client as a patent liar, blackmailer, defamer who is merely chasing public clout at the expenses of the “integrity” and “reputation” of your Client.

2.13 We therefore deem it crucial to most respectfully intimate you on the person of Our Client and his standing particularly as the tone of your Letter displays a befuddling ignorance of who Prince Kassim Afegbua is, in the hope, perhaps, that this will serve as a guide in your subsequent correspondence and action(s) in dealing with Our Client.

2.14 Our Client is a notable Public Activist, Public Affairs Analyst and Investigative Journalist who has over the years selflessly committed himself to the fight against corruption and social injustice in Nigeria with the drive of making our country a sane society and achieving a workable system for the citizenry. His philosophy is driven towards ensuring transparency in the public sector, holding public officers accountable to the people.

2.15 Our Client in the past has served in several public positions such as: Spokesman to former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR; Chief Press Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomole,  Special Adviser, Media & Strategy to Governor Adams Oshiomole, Honourable Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Edo State; Acting National Chairman, National Democratic Party (NDP); Director General, National Headquarters, National Democratic Party (NDP).

2.16 Prince Kassim Afegbua who is a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party has also held several privileged positions in the party. He was the Spokesman, PDP Presidential Campaign Council at the 2019 General Election and also was an Aspirant at the 2019 House of Representatives General Election.

2.17 It is instructive to note that Our Client has severally utilized the instrumentality of the court to ensure probity and due adherence to the cause of justice. You are please referred to Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/129/2018 between Prince Kassim Afegbua v. The Federal Republic of Nigeria & 2 Ors. Hence, he is not a man to make baseless accusations or complaints to Law Enforcement Agencies, neither can he be intimidated by tenuous legal action.

2.18 Let it be known Sir, that Our Client does not habour any bitter feelings or hatred towards Prince Uche Secondus, rather Our Client will consistently hold persons in public trust to account on the need to sanitize the country of corruption irrespective of whose ox is gored. Our Client’s motive is to task all relevant security agencies to do their job by investigating anyone reasonably suspected of having committed a crime and not necessarily directed to reduce any person in the circumstance.

3.0 CONCLUSION AND COUNTER DEMAND

3.1 As a Firm of Legal Practitioners we have founded a Law Firm which has for decades been solidly established on the core values of integrity, dexterity, diligence and service, we have duly advised Our Client of his rights and interest in the circumstance and we have come to the irresistible conclusion that we find Prince Uche Secondus’s demands for an apology and his ₦1,000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) in damages as ridiculous, laughable and shadow-boxing, giving the unavoidable impression that your Client is simply an actor in the theatre of trivialities and farcicality.

 

3.2 While we are not unmindful of the seeming intentions of your Client through his paid agents, cronies and lackeys to muffle our Client into a state of silence using a carrot and stick approach of which some in one breath, call for truce and some others make covert and overt threats and trepidation to our Client’s life. Sir, we are conversant with this good cop, bad cop principle.

3.3 On the threat, we have immediately alerted the office of the Acting Inspector General of Police and we take the liberty of this Letter to beseech you as a shining light and Leader of the Bar to further advise your Client to refrain from contacting or threatening our Client.

3.4 Sir, it must be further stated with every sense of purpose that we shall ensure, as ministers in the temple of justice and adherent to the dictates of the rule of law that the water of justice is not muddled in the instant case by any guise and Our Client is unwavering in his resolve to ensure that investigations are conducted to logical conclusions.

3.5 Considering the defamatory content of the Letter dated 29th April, 2021 which has been wittingly circulated in print and electronic media including Vanguard, Guardian Newspapers, Whatsapp Messenger, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to discredit our Client’s reputation we shall not hesitate to Counter Claim the sum of ₦3,000,000,000.00 (Three Billion Naira) as damages for defamation, cost of prosecution and other claims which shall be disclosed at the appropriate forum.Please know that our Client reserves his right in the circumstance.

3.6 To say more at this point will be otiose! Please let your Client be guided Sir.

Sincerely,

Dr. Olukayode Ajulo, Esq.

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