Lt Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, has threatened court action against Mahdi Shehu for malicious publication.
Mahdi had accused Buratai of receiving N250 million from the Katsina state government.
To avert the legal action, Buratai Demanded that Mahdi Shehu retract his allegation on three local newspapers in Katsina and apologize to him within 48 hour beginning from Tuesday, 21st July, 2020. He threatens to sue for N10 billion damages.
Speaking through his private legal counsel, Osuagwu Ugochukwu ESQ during a world press conference at NUJ press centre in katsina, Buratai debunked the allegations.
“In a reply to the letter from my Law firm, the katsina state government on 15/07/2020 with reference number SEC. 258/vol.vi436 dismissed the allegation of Shehu Mahdi and disowned the documents being paraded by him as the same never emanated from the Katsina state government- certainly a case of forgery.
“The action of Shehu Mahdi clearly goes against section 24 of the cybercrime (prohibition, prevention etc) Act 2015. Certainly Shehu Mahdi will in no distant time have his day in court to answer for this capricious, reckless, malicious and criminal defamation of the character of Lieutenant General TY Buratai,” Buratai stated.
He said that the era of where public officers are instrumental blackmail, harassed and intimidated by people in the like of Mahdi needs to be curtailed, ” in this era of hate speech , there is need to put an end to the mindless and unfounded electronic and social media harassment of public officers in the country,” he said and explained further that whistle blowing policy of the government should not any way be abused and “whosoever must be quick to mention that whistle must be blown for the right reason always or we stand blown – off by the pressure of our whistle.
“I further gave the instructions of Lieutenant General TY Buratai to demand the immediate retraction of the defamation publication by Shehu Mahdi by way of an unblurred and unequivocal apology to our client prominently in at least three (3) local newspaper in katsina state from within 48 hours and that he restrain himself from further defamation if our client forthwith otherwise.
“A libel suit against him will commence and I shall be claiming the sum of N10, 000,000,000,00 (ten billion naira) as damages for defamation and not excluding further criminal prosecution vide law enforcement agencies including that of the directorate of legal service (Army),” he said.