Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma’s immediate past Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, Mr Fabian Ihekweme is presently embattled as the Imo State correspondent of Punch Newspapers, Chidiebube Okeoma has threatened court action against him for what he referred to as defamatory statement/publication that misrepresented and portrayed him in very bad light as a bribe taker, sycophant, deceitful and unreliable person.
This was contained in a letter dated June 24, 2021 and addressed to the ex-commissioner by Okeoma’s lawyer,Mike Otti and company of No. 27 Njemanze Street, Owerri and made available to the press.
The letter with the caption, “Defamatory statement/publication against Journalist Chidiebube Okeoma, reads, “that on the 21st June, 2021, at exactly 10:14am, you published a defamatory statement/publication against our client in a Whatsapp Group call SAVE IMO and which is managed by one Nze Ebubeagu Ekenulo as Group Admin.
That in the said post you used defamatory words and statement against our client as follows;
“Desperation will finally destroy PDP if care is not taken.
Who paid 250k into Okeoma’s UBA account at exactly 6:55pm? Could the money be a way of saying thank you for a job well done? How can someone who calls himself a journalist be so arrogant and head hardy, so dogmatic and stupid simply because he was asked to introduce himself? Is Okeoma too big to introduce himself to the security personnels? How come his other colleagues shouted at him to remain calm and stop insulting the security men? It is obvious that Okeoma came there to play a script for which 250k was paid into his account yesterday evening.
I still remember vividly when this same Okeoma was beaten to coma inside Spitbath for collecting bribe to deride Sen. Okorocha. What manner of journalist is this? a journalist that collects bribe to write against somebody should be stripped of his licence to practice and even jailed as well.
That tout of a journalist should hide his face in shame for bringing dishonor to that profession”.
That the natural and ordinary meaning of the words, which are seriously defamatory to our client, portrayed him as a PDP sycophant, partisan politician, bribe-taker, thief, deceitful, untrustworthy, unreliable person, a person without integrity, a criminal and person who obtained by false pretense.
The aforesaid published statement is completely false, maliciously concocted, untrue and constitutes libel against our client.
The publication, which was widely shared by many others on social media platforms and groups was read by persons within Imo State, Nigeria and in the diaspora. The post was also brought to the notice of our client’s employer, prospective employers and partners.
Our client has been seriously harmed by the publication of such defamatory words, the nature of which is deeply distressing and embarrassing to his person.
The said publication injured our client’s hard earned reputation, which he built over a decade of practice as a journalist and the trust his employers and members of the public reposed on him.
The said publication, which has become the talk of the town, has put our client in a state of odium, and reduced our client in the eyes of well thinking members of the public.
Consequently our client now makes the following demands;
That you publish an unreserved apology and complete retraction of the libelous statement in the same manner you published same.
To render unreserved apology to be published in any two reputable National Newspapers, to be approved by us on our client’s behalf.
To pay the sum of
N200,000,000.00 (two hundred million naira) as compensation/damages to our client for the injury caused to his reputation and financial loss.
To indemnify our client in respect of costs incurred in the pursuance of this matter.
TAKE NOTICE that you are given 14 days to fulfill our client’s demand, failure which our client shall proceed to seek legal redress without further recourse to you”.