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Betta Edu to sue BBC, demands $50m domages

Dr Betta Edu, who was recently suspended from her position as the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, is reportedly planning to take legal action against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for defamation.

In a letter signed by her counsel, Chikaosolu Ojukwu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), the BBC’s Abuja and London offices were accused of publishing false reports claiming that N30 billion had been recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from the suspended minister.

The letter further alleged that the publication had greatly damaged Edu’s reputation.

Part of the letter read, “Our client has suffered immeasurable reputational damage, psychological trauma and anguish as a direct consequence of the publication and dissemination of the article.”

According to SaharaReporters, Edu is also demanding $50 million from the media organisation as compensation.

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The letter which is attached below read: “We represent Dr Betta Edu, the Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation of Nigeria (hereinafter referred to as “our client”) and we have her express instructions to write you in the terms set here under.

“We write to express our deep concern regarding the recent article published by the BBC on its website: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-Africa (Last accessed on 9th April 2024 at 17:40 GMT) titled: “Betta Edu Probe: Nigeria Recover $24m in Poverty Minister Investigation- EFCC” with the byline “Nigeria Has Recovered 30bn Naira ($24m; £19m) as Part of an Ongoing Corruption probe Into a Suspended Minister, the Financial Watchdog Says.

“The aforesaid article, which presents information purporting to relate to an ongoing corruption probe into the activities of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria, is replete with innuendoes and insinuations which suggest that N30bn has been recovered in the course of the ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from our client and that the 50 bank accounts connected with the recovered sums are linked to our client.

“Furthermore, your article proceeds to cast aspersion on our client by referencing her earlier suspension (to allow for unfettered investigations) in the following terms: ‘Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Minister Betta Edu was initially suspended in January over the alleged diversion of $640,000 of public money into a personal bank account.’

“First and foremost, the language used in describing our client’s purported involvement in the alleged corruption case suggests guilt without allowing for the presumption of innocence, which is fundamental in any fair and unbiased reporting. The reckless manner in which the article was crafted, without providing our client with the opportunity to respond to the allegations before its wide publication, is a clear breach of journalistic fairness and due process and demonstrates a complete disregard for journalistic integrity and professionalism.

“The headline, content, and tone of the article imply guilt on the part of our client, without any concrete evidence to substantiate such claims. This is a blatant attempt to tarnish our client’s reputation and undermine her credibility which she has earned over the course of her distinguished career in both private and public life.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our client has neither been indicted nor found culpable of any act of financial impropriety in relation to her stewardship of the Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Ministry in Nigeria. It is also pertinent to emphasise that neither N30 billion nor any amount whatsoever has been traced to or recovered from our client’s bank accounts nor has any proceeds of crime been traced or recovered from her to warrant the scurrilous article under reference.

“Suffice it to say that in the aftermath of the publication of this scandalous article (which the BBC caused to be disseminated to millions of persons across the globe), our client has been inundated by calls and messages from friends, associates expressing their shock and consternation. Our client has suffered immeasurable reputational damage, psychological trauma and anguish as a direct consequence of the publication and dissemination of the article.”

Betta Edu to sue BBC, demands $50m domages

Betta Edu to sue BBC, demands $50m domages

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

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