The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has handed a seven-day ultimatum to Sahara Reporters over what he described as “libelous and defamatory publications” against him.
Malami said the online newspaper must retract the publications and apologize within the stipulated period.
Malami, in a statement signed by Dr. Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations on Monday said the consequence of the criminal defamation published by Sahara Reporters, has subjected him to considerable distress, psychological trauma and anxiety.
He said the publication has greatly injured his character and reputation, which is capable of lowering his estimation in the eyes of right-thinking persons in the society.
He said that series of prejudicial articles/materials were published by Sahara Reporters Inc. which were adverse against him, disparaged his reputation via its online internet platform and broadcast on the internet via the Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other similar Social Media platforms where same could be viewed and assessed by the whole world and further shared and/or disseminated virally without restraint.
Malami noted in particular that on July 10, 11, and 12, Sahara Reporters, in what appears like a coordinated attack, viciously wrote and maliciously published libelous and criminally defamatory articles against his person.
The Minister said it is pertinent to note that the publications were untrue, fabrications, and mere figments of the imaginations of Sahara Reporters and are unsupported howsoever.
“Since the defamatory articles were published, I have been receiving several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, friends, well-wishers and associates from all over the world including those I have dealt with and am still dealing with in my official capacity as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer, many of whom have expressed serious concerns over the publication”.
He said that the publication of malicious libel and criminal defamation against him by Sahara Reporters was with a view to disparaging him in the eyes of right-thinking persons, contrary to the Nigerian Criminal and Penal Laws and a gross violation of his Right to the Dignity of the Human Person as guaranteed under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).