Ex-Speaker Dogari threatens lawsuit against publisher of N1bn UBEC contract story

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogari

ARMSTRONG ALLAHMAGANI, Bauchi –

The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogari has said that unless the Publishers of a Bauchi based online news blog: WIKKITIMES write an apology and a retraction over a “defamatory and libelous” story published against him, he would seek redress in court.

Dogara, a Member Representing Bogoro/Dass/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State, said that the story which was published on June 28, 2021 by the news blog, lacked any iota of truth in it.

He therefore, demanded for apology from the Publishers within 72 hours stressing that failure to do so, he will institute legal action against the online blog.

The Lawmaker, in a letter addressed to the Publishers of WikkiTimes Media and Publishing Limited, dated July 2nd, 2021, signed by Barristers Ahmed Accanny and S. N. Yusuf, from Baushe Chambers Bauchi, which was obtained by NATIONAL ACCORD on Saturday, demanded for immediate retraction of the “defamatory” story and written apology to Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara within three days from the date of the receipt of the letter or risk legal action.

According to the letter, in the libelous story, the online blog alleged that “without any shred of evidence” the former Speaker “connived” with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to squander a fictitious sum of N1 billion meant for renovation of schools in his Federal Constituency.

“Your disingenuous publication purported to elicit information from some named persons one of whom is one Mr. Gideon Gambo, whom your spurious publication claim is an uncle to our client and NUT Chairman of Bogoro Local Government. Your publication went on to recklessly quote the said Mr. Gideon Gambo, a fictitious uncle to our client as saying that”.

“It is very glaring that nowhere in your ignoble publication other than the sensational headline, did you trace the release of the sum of 1 billion naira to UBEC for the construction of Model schools which UBEC undertakes at 250 million naira and have constructed same in many states across the country,” the letter stated.

The letter said that since the online blog categorically failed to state whether the purported sum of N1 billion was released and to whom, it wondered “how therefore, did you arrive at the conclusion that our client in conjunction with UBEC has squandered a nonexistent sum of 1 billion naira?”

The letter stated that it is crystal clear that the publication left no intelligent person in doubt as to the fact that the mendacious publication was just meant to defame their client.

It added that as though the foregoing was not enough, the blog went on to personally state that the proposed ICT centre in the community has been converted to warehouse of the All Progressives Congress used by Dogara and that the building which has the party logo, his political party, is behind his house.

“Our client finds it shocking that you went to great lengths to starkly defame him without a shred of evidence and had to resort to base
conjecture and suppositions.

“In sharp contrast to what your unfounded publication would have the world believe, our client has no uncle dead or alive that bears the name Mr. Gideon Gambo in which by virtue of your publication is the acclaimed Principal of Gwarangah Secondary School and chairman of NUT, Bogoro L.G.A,” it stated.

According to the letter, one of such examples is the blog’s “unfounded claim” that Members of the community told it that the books meant to be distributed to the schools in the area have been stashed inside Dogara‚Äôs house.

The legal practitioners declared that their client is not aware of the release of the sum of N1 billion to any entity by UBEC for the construction of schools in his constituency other than a budgetary line of N1 billion for the construction of Model Schools in Dass Central Primary School, Tafawa Balewa Central Primary School, Bogoro Primary School and Gwarangah Primary School at the cost of N250 million each, of which there was no budgetary release of the monies appropriated.

They stated that “Consequently, the projects could not have been undertaken. It is also noteworthy that contrary to the letters of your defamatory publication, no project was ever listed in the budget for Junior Secondary School in Gwarangah.

“Our client is baffled by the fact that you opted to feign ignorance of the fact that the responsibility of fixing and rehabilitating schools lies with the state government and not on our client who, as a legislator, merely but concertedly nominates the schools where the projects will be carried out.

The letter stated that the grossly unfounded claim that books meant for school children are stashed in Dogara’s house at Gwarangah and that the ICT centre at Gwarangah bears the APC logo are “not only fantastic lies but seem like a carefully crafted scene of a fictitious movie.”

“You are therefore and hereby given a period of 3 days from the date of service of this letter on you, to retract your defamatory publication against our client and unequivocally apologize for same through the same medium you used, failing which we shall proceed to seek legal redress against you before a competent court of law in the course of which we shall claim substantial damages against you,” it added.

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