By Rotimi Agbana
The immediate past Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has filed a formal petition to the acting Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, seeking an urgent probe of the baseless and defamatory allegations that he was involved in drafting the judgment for the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal judges.
Fashola, in a petition addressed to the IG on Monday titled: RE: FALSE ALLEGATION AND CYBERSTALKING OF MR. BABATUNDE R. FASHOLA, SAN, CON BY THE TRIO OF JACKSON UDE, YORUBA SHEIKH, AND REPORTERA.NG”, by his solicitors, Priory Terrace Solicitors, urged the police chief to launch, as a matter of “urgency and seriousness” an investigation into the said malicious publications, with a bid to clearing his name and setting the records straight.
Fashola had on Monday denied the allegation, as he called on security agencies to take action against those responsible for spreading the fake news.
He clarified that he had been away from Abuja for an extended period of time, hence he described the claims as entirely unfounded.
He condemned the individuals behind the allegations noting that he had initiated the process of filing formal petitions against the offensive tweets and online reports with the management of the microblogging site, X (formerly known as Twitter), and the National Communications Commission.
The petition reads in part, “We are Solicitors to His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde R. FASHOLA, SAN, CON, the immediate past Honourable Minister of Works and Housing [Our Client), and we have his instructions to interface with you in respect of the above-captioned matter.
“The attention of our client has been drawn to a tweet published on Wednesday, 2 August 2023 on micro-blogging site, X [formerly known as Twitter] by one Jackson Ude tweeting under the handle of @jacksonpbn with the headline: EXPOSED: FASHOLA IS WRITING PEPT JUDGEMENT FOR JUDGES.
“It is the position of our Client that the publications by the said Jackson Ude, @yorubasheik, and @ReporteraNew are false in their entirety and have excessively breached the decent fundamentals of public enlightenment that freedom of the press is constitutionally about.
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“It is our Client’s position that the totality of the three publications amount to nothing less than character assassination with a calculated view to achieving damaging effects against him in his profession as a legal practitioner who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a former Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a former Governor of Lagos State, and in his private life as a citizen of Nigeria.
“It is also our Client’s position that by the publications wherein his name and pictures were deployed, the trio of Jackson Ude, @yorubasheik, and @ReporteraNew portrayed our Client and referred to him as
i. A corrupt legal practitioner who rigs elections and compromises Electoral processes;
ii. A dirty politician who corrupts the Judiciary and influences the outcome of judicial proceedings; and
iii. A disgrace of a lawyer who is not worthy of the office and rank of the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, amongst other negative imputations
it added, “It is the position of our Client that these orchestrated allegations coming at this critical time could be part of a wider campaign to undermine the judiciary by those who seek to manipulate the judicial institution for their own gain.
“Having regard to the importance of judicial independence in general and the sensitivity of the judicial proceeding of the Presidential Election Petition Court in particular, it is the position of our Client that the publications by the said Jackson Ude, @yorubasheik, and (@ReporteraNew are false and made for the purpose of causing inconvenience, danger, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred and needless anxiety to our Client, contrary to the provisions of section 24 of the Cybercrimes [Prohibition, Prevention, Etc, Act 2015.
“In the light of the foregoing, we hereby request your office to cause the publications to be investigated with utmost urgency and seriousness as they have implications not only for the person of our Client but for the independence, impartiality, and integrity of Nigerian judiciary which is guaranteed by Section 17 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.”
– The Punch