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Defamation: Masari Demands N10bn From Abuja NUJ, Officials

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Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina state has demanded the sum N10 billion as compensation from the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council and two of its officials, following a press statement in which they allegedly defamed his character.

Masari also asked the journalists to tender a formal apology over the statement in eight national dailies in the next seven days or risk ‘criminal and civil proceedings’.

Addressing newsmen at a press conference in Katsina, Thursday, counsel to Masari, Chief E.O Obunadike, said his client decided to take such action to redeem his hard earned ‘character and reputation painstakingly built over decades’.

It would be recalled that, the two journalists, Emmanuel Ogbeche and Ochaika Ugwu, chairman and secretary of the NUJ FCT council respectively, had issued a statement on January 2, alleging that Masari had ordered arrest of a journalist, Nelson Omonu of Summit Post newspaper, Abuja.

They alleged that the governor ordered the arrest following allegation of character assassination by Nelson, and was detained in Katsina.

However, Ugwu and Ogbeche later issued a statement in which they apologised to Governor Masari, as they had mistaken him for the person that initiated the arrest.

Obunadike, however, said the apology was inadequate and that the said journalists should write a formal apology in eight national dailies, in addition to paying N10 billion in compensation.

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