- Presidential spokesman Rueben Abati settled the case Buhari filed against him and “The Guardian newspaper” out of court
- Rueben Abati published a retraction of his libelous claim which accused the ex-president of instigating terror.
Buhari Vanguard Replies Olisa Metuh On Libel Against Buhari
We had thought of ignoring Olisa Metus allegation against Muhammadu Buhari since we understand that he is a man without a mind of his own, but a vuvuzela that is used at will by his owner the PDP.
However, in the interest of unsuspecting Nigerians who may be deceived by the gimmicks and deceit of the likes of Olisa Metuh and his party, we wish to put the records straight in this response to the recent libel against the person of Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).
You recall that on Saturday, the 22nd of March 2014, Olisa Metuh, the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP attempted once again to link Gen Muhammadu Buhari to the insurgence in Nigerian its usual “blame game” and in a bid to defend the incompetence, confused and underperforming government of the Peoples Democratic Party.
In his words, “When we accused the APC of being behind insurgency, we did not speak in vain and when we summarised the manifesto of the party as a product of Janjaweed ideology, we have verifiable reasons”. He went further and argued that it was not a coincidence that an unprecedented violence broke out after Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) allegedly beckoned on his supporters to go on lynching spree if he should lose the 2011 presidential election, adding that the Sheik Lemu committee, which investigated the death of hundreds of people in the post-2011 election violence, established Buhari’s culpability.
We were rattled by this dislocated, irrational and weird thinking that is coming from a man who claims to be a lawyer and we wish to set the records straight for discerning Nigerians. First, It would be recalled that Reuben Abati, an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan had on page 51 of the April 22, 2011, edition of The Guardian newspaper, written an article entitled “For the attention of General Buhari,” where he claimed that Buhari made an unguarded statement which stirred the post-election violence that almost tore the nation apart.
The former Military General however, regarded the publication as libelous, aimed at denting his hard earned name and image. Buhari consequently dragged Abati and The Guardian Newspapers to court via suit no. ID/837/2011, demanding N1billion damages from them. The presidency begged the former Head of States General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) to settle out of court the libel suit he filed against the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati.
In a copy of the Terms of Settlement filed before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja, the ‘warring’ parties have agreed to settle the matter out of court. According to the terms of settlement, dated December 2012 and filed before the administrative judge of Lagos State, Justice Opeyemi Oke, the claimant (Buhari), Mr. Tope Adebayo ( lawyer to Buhari), Abati and Mr. Kunle Sanyaolu (lawyer to The Guardian) signed the terms of settlement.
The terms of settlement reads in part: “The claimant (Buhari) and defendants (Abati and The Guardian) have agreed that the defendants should publish a retraction and an apology to the claimant on the Opinion Page of the newspaper, to be printed in reverse line black (RLB) within seven days of entering the Consent Terms as the judgment of the court in two editions of The Guardian.”
“The claimant and defendants have agreed and resolved that the retraction and apology shall take the following form and contents: ‘Re: For the attention of General Buhari’- On April 22, 2011, The Guardian Newspaper published an article on Page 51 titled ‘For the attention of General Buhari’ where certain allegations were made against General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), GCFR, concerning the 2011 election and General Buhari’s alleged role in the violence emanating from the elections.”
“The publication was based on information which we believed to be reliable at that time. Since the publication, however, we now have reason to believe that certain parts of the story were not verified to be correct before the publication. We assure General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), GCFR, of our highest esteem and regret any distress or embarrassment which the said publication may have caused him.”
“The claimant and defendants agree that on the execution of these Terms of Settlement, the defendants are discharged from all or any liabilities or obligations arising from the said publication.”
In the weird allegation by Olisa Metuh, he erroneously and mischievously quoted the report of the Lemu Panel’s report on the 2011 post election violence and claimed that the panel report indicted Gen Muhammadu Buhari. This is not only wrong and deceitful but mischievous. Metuh forgot that Nigerians are not all illiterates and still have the report of the panel and the exact words of the chairman of the panel.
The Chairman of presidential panel on the pre and post election violence in some parts of the country, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, said on the 11th of October 2011that the committee did not indict former Head of State Gen Muhammadu Buhari in its report.
Sheikh Lemu told the BBC Hausa service that so many politicians called on their supporters to guard their votes just like Buhari did. When asked whether his committee said Buhari’s comments were responsible for the violence, Sheikh Lemu said: “If you take a look at our report, what we said cleared Buhari of any complicity. Because we showed that he was not the only one who asked the people to protect their votes, there were other prominent politicians, who also asked the people to protect their votes. And we said that statement was misconstrued to mean a call to violence, and they did. It was discovered that the Buhari himself was a victim of the violence and of the destruction of his property, the photographs of which were presented to the panel.
On the cause of the crisis, panel said, “The first and probably most important cause is the failure on the part of the previous successive regimes since the military handover of power in 1999 to implement the recommendations of various committees, commissions and panels that had taken place in our nation. That failure facilitated the wide spread sense of impunity in the culprits and perpetrators of crimes and violence in the Nigerian society”.
It said, “The second major cause of the recent electoral violence was the existing widespread desire for change as a result of frustration and disappointment of many members of the general public regarding the inability of the successive past regimes to solve the problems of electricity power failure nationwide, deplorable state of Federal Government roads throughout the nation, bribery and corruption, which have virtually been legitimised in all affairs of our nation. Obviously, the report indicted the PDP government and till date, they have not been able to implement or act on the report.
It is so amazing that an acclaimed learned fellow like Olisa Metuh does not respect court rulings nor has knowledge of them. We also marvel that the spokesperson of a ruling political party does not know the history of post election violence in Nigeria and their remote causes.
Elections have been a source of violent political, ethnic, religious and communal conflicts in Nigeria since the late 1940s when limited elections were introduced. This problem deteriorated in the elections conducted immediately after independence in the 1960s.
In the Western Region, violent political conflicts, popularly referred to as “operation wetie“, were recorded from 1964 to 1965. The national election conducted in 1983 witnessed massive post-election violence following the declared landslide victory of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in Oyo and Ondo states considered to be stronghold of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
There is substantial similarity between the post-election violence recorded in 1983 and the post-election violence recorded after the presidential election on April 16, 2011 in which hundreds of people were reported killed and property worth billions of naira were destroyed or looted.
We may not have the time to tutor Olisa Metuh, but we urge him to study and improve on his limited knowledge to avoid embarrassing himself again.
Olisa Metuh is a man of questionable and indecent character, a bully that has no respect for others and the law of the land. We have not forgotten that February 19, 2011, Olisa Metuh, a lawyer turned politician, allegedly held Pele by the throat and reportedly ordered an aide to put him in his car boot, saying “No police IG or SSS can secure your release.” The Vice-Principal of British Nigerian Academy, Prince & Princess Estate, Abuja, Mr. Kola Pele, 67, has taught in numerous schools and nurtured many pupils. He was going about his duty at the last BNA visiting day when the National Vice-Chairman (South-East), Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Olisa Metuh, invaded the school with his wife, policemen as well as aides and allegedly assaulted him and other teachers for confiscating his son’s GSM phone.
The affected teachers had filed a lawsuit seeking N250m for general damages, N10m for punitive damages and N350, 000 for medical bills. The writ was issued by Joseph Dauda (SAN), the Nigeria Bar Association President. Pele told PUNCH METRO on Wednesday that he went to the hostels around 6.30pm to check if the parents had dispersed, when a teacher, Ms. Amuche Igbe, informed him that she saw Metuh’s son, Derrick, a former pupil of the school, giving his GSM phone to pupils to use in violation of the school rules. This is just to mention but a few examples of olisa Metus indecent behaviors and character.
On the other hand, Gen Muhammadu Buhari has held the most juicy and highest offices in Nigeria, but has come out clean and remained the rallying point of discipline and virtues. He has remained the purveyor of anticorruption, anti-materialism and disciple.
His achievement as PTF chairman where he procured free school bused for higher institutions, free drugs for all hospitals, lecture halls and learning materials for students among others is unprecedented. His mild stone as the petroleum Minister where he signed the contracts and supervised the building of the existing Nigerian refineries among others is still enviable.
His restoration of discipline as a head of state and refusal to de-value the naira making it more valuable than the dollar cannot be forgotten, not to mention the fact that he led the army at young age to chase the Chaldeans who intruded into the territory of Nigeria and would have caused what would have been more terrorizing than Boko Harram if allowed to stay, this is not to mention the role he played in the Nigerian civil war to restore peace and defend Nigeria.
We condemn the attempt by men like Olisa Metuh to poke their hands into the mouth of a descent, respected and quintessential gentle man like Muhammadu Buhari who has spent all his life fighting for and defending Nigeria.
Jasper Azuatalam, Chairman Buhari Vanguard