Communications and Digital Economy Minister Dr. Ali Isa Pantami vowed yesterday to sue a national daily for publishing a report that he has been placed on the watch-list by the United States (U.S.).
Pantami made the threat in a statement by his lawyer, Michael Jonathan Numa, Senior Partner of the Karina Tunyan (SAN) and Company, in Abuja.
The minister said even though the news outlet has retracted the report via its Twitter handle, “such grave and unverified allegations cannot be wished away by a bland and emotionless tweet which does not show contriteness for the immeasurable and malignant damage done to our Client’s pristine reputation.”
He said he has no option than to “pursue every legal means to guard his hard earned reputation as indicated in his letter of 12th April, 2021.
The lawyer said: “We continue to act as Counsel to Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy hereinafter referred to as our client and on whose express instruction we issue this press release.
“Our client’s attention has been drawn to a purported ‘Retraction’ of the unfounded front-page headline publication on the Sunday Edition of the Daily Independent Newspaper dated 11th day of April, 2021, with the title ‘Disquiet as America Places Nigerian Minister on Watch List.’
“The newspaper article had contained grave defamatory statements impugning the hard-earned reputation of our client.
“The Daily Independent Newspaper has now purportedly retracted the grossly libelous statements and allegations via its twitter handle (@IndependentNGR) on the 14th day of April, 2021, claiming that they have realised that the publication ‘has not been verified to be true’.
“This is an affirmation of the high level of irresponsibility exhibited by the media house which prides itself as ‘the most read newspaper among the political and business elites.
“A defamatory publication containing such grave and unverified allegations cannot be wished away by a bland and emotionless tweet which does not show contriteness for the immeasurable and malignant damage done to our Client’s pristine reputation.
“The said retraction having not met our client’s demand leave us with no option than to pursue every legal means to guard the hard earned reputation of our client as earlier indicated in our letter of 12th April, 2021.”