A former lawmaker, Ned Nwoko, has threatened a lawsuit against the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) for libel and disparaging publications.
In a letter to the NGF, Mr Nwoko, through his lawyer, accused the NGF of “publishing false, untrue and concocted stories about him without any attempt to verify.”
He described the publications as malicious and manipulative and demanded $40 million as compensation for the publications.
He also demanded an “unqualified apology” to be published in national newspapers and online media.
Mr Nwoko’s letter is in response to a statement by the Forum on Sunday where the former lawmaker was accused of spilling half-truths about the controversial Paris Club refunds.
NGF wrote to the federal government and argued that an attempt to restart the deduction process of $418 million, which is in the courts would be unconstitutional.
They accused the Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, of attempting to illegally make the payment to the consultants.
But Mr Nwoko said his firm, Linas International, was being owed $68 million and not $418 million as stated by the NGF – hence the Forum’s statement of him peddling half-truths.
In the letter seen by PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Nwoko accused the NGF of lying about his status with the U.K Law Society.
“One of the false and defamatory statements,” it reads, “which has been trending on the social media since Sunday, 21 August 2022 authored by one ABDULRAZAQUE BELLO-BARAKINDO on behalf of the NGF alleged as follows:
‘It is curious that in the introduction of himself, Mr Nwoko said nothing about his current status with the UK Law Society and the widely held belief that he was disbarred for fraudulent activities.’”
He described the statement from the NGF as profoundly malicious and false as he has “never been disbarred from legal practice in the UK.”
Attached to the letter were Mr Nwoko’s Practising Certificate for the years 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – the regulator of solicitors and law firms in England and Wales.
He accused the Forum of being on a quest to damage his reputation, cast him as a devious, manipulative, dishonest and fraudulent person of questionable character and attempted to abuse the minds of the public by its refusal to pay the consultancy fees.
“…Till date our client is proudly and happily in touch with his legal roots in Britain. He has his annual practising certificates as a British lawyer. They don’t issue practising certificates to anyone debarred from practice,” the suit read.
He, therefore, demanded that the NGF:
“1. Publish in two national newspapers as well as in your online news media — statements retracting the libellous publications of 21st August 2022 with an unqualified apology within 48 hours from the receipt of the letter.
“2. Pay the sum of $40,000,000 (forty million United States dollars) as compensation for the malicious, false and disparaging publications.”
Mr Nwoko is the lead consultant for the recovery of over deductions from Paris and London clubs’ debt buyback funds.