We are Solicitors to MR. OMOYELE SOWORE, a Nigerian citizen and Founder and Publisher of the popular and globally celebrated online news media SaharaReporters (Our Client) domiciled in New York City, United States of America (USA).
Our attention has once again been drawn to a sensational press statement published online wherein it is reported that one Lekan Fatodu purportedly speaking through his solicitor, Osuagwu Ogochukwu has threatened to sue Our Client for ‘’Criminal Defamation, Threat To Life, Assault and Libel’’ consequent to Our Client’s spirited decision to withdraw from the ‘’peaceful settlement’’ brokered on Thursday 12th January 2017 by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos State in conjunction with prominent lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi.
In the whimsical and baseless statement, it was also stated that ‘’Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters has been advised not to flee Nigeria in order to escape the long arm of the law’’.
We have never been in doubt that one of the primary aims of the duplicitous mellow-drama acted in the last one week by the said Lekan Fatodu is to ride on the hard earned reputation of Our Client to gain notoriety. This assertion has been publicly affirmed by the said Fatodu who has repeatedly and shamelessly boasted that ‘’if someone had told Sowore that someone like Lekan would bring him to the police station he would not have believed’’.
Most right thinking members of the Nigerian society who are conversant with the outstanding pedigree, impeccable tenacity and decades of unflinching courage exuded by Our Client will readily dissolve into uncontrollable laughter upon reading the nauseating statement of Fatodu and his solicitor advising Our Client not to flee Nigeria because of their ‘impending’ law suit. This is because a sheep, let alone a half-fed sheep, can never advise the Lion not to flee from the forest because it intends to start a brawl with it.
We clearly stated in our previous statement, and it bears repeating; that there is no case of ‘’Criminal Defamation and blackmail’’ or any other actionable or legally cognizable action against Our Client. Mr. Fatodu’s solicitor may not have adverted his mind to our earlier elucidation on the absence and abrogation of the so-called offense of criminal defamation in the jurisprudence and corpus juris (body of Laws) of Lagos State. We wonder how a person can be sued in a civil process for a non-existent crime. Putting it differently: could it be that the said Fatodu is aspiring to set a record as the first person who sued another in a civil case for a non-existing crime?
We wish to restate our opposition to and rejection of any attempt to exculpate Fatodu for assaulting and attempting to kill Sowore at Ikeja GRA, Lagos State on Tuesday 10th January 2017 in the guise of peaceful settlement. Crimes should be punished and not arbitrated. Instead of engaging in nebulous pleas for a soft-landing from Our Client, Fatodu and his sponsors should own up to their failed campaign of calumny which they thought could cow and distract Sowore and SaharaReporters.
Before proceeding with their legal rigmarole, we advise Fatodu, his solicitor and sponsors to carefully digest the purpose of litigation as beautifully espoused by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of H. R. H. IGWE G. O. UMEANADU V. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF ANAMBRA STATE & ANOR. (2008) 3 SCNJ 59 where Niki Tobi, JSC correctly opined thus:
‘’Litigation is not the children’s game of hide and seek. It is not a game of smartness. It is not a game of artifice or cunning display of a smart conduct designed to overreach or outsmart the adverse party. On the contrary, litigation is a decent, open and not deceitful process of making and defending claims in a court of law’’.
INIBEHE EFFIONG, ESQ.
Principal Solicitor/Head of Chambers
For: INIBEHE EFFIONG CHAMBERS (LIBERATION HOUSE).