Writer sues ThisDay, Fani-Kayode over doctored information

Posted on July 14, 2015

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By Ekene Eziagulu

An Abuja-based writer and activist, Sodiq Alabi has filed a lawsuit against ThisDay Newspapers and Femi Fani-Kayode, the former media director of Goodluck Jonathan Presidential campaign organisation, over a newspaper publication that misrepresented him and falsified information he had obtained.

In the days leading up to the 2015 Presidential elections in Nigeria, a lot of furore was raised with regards to the academic qualifications of the then APC presidential candidate, Muhamadu Buhari. In a bid to separate truth from falsehood, Mr. Sodiq Alabi sought clarification from Cambridge University, organisers of the examinations written by Buhari in 1961. Specifically, on January 22nd 2015, Alabi enquired if Hausa Language was one of the languages set in the senior school certificate examinations in 1961. Cambridge Assessment Archive Services replied his email same day, confirming that Hausa Language was set in 1961. Alabi then posted this piece of information and a screen grab of the correspondence on his Facebook page and other social media platforms. However, on the 26th January 2015, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a statement cited by ThisDay newspapers, averred that Hausa Language was not set by Cambridge in the 1961 certificate examinations. The article hinged this assertion on the correspondence between Sodiq Alabi and the Cambridge Assessment Archive, which had been altered.

In a bid to straighten the records, Alabi had contacted ThisDay Newspapers to retract the misleading reports of January 25th and 26th, 2015 and to tender an unreserved apology. ThisDay neither acknowledged nor responded to the email. His lawyers, Messrs. Wadata Chambers on April 28th also wrote a letter of demand to both ThisDay and Fani-Kayode. While ThisDay Newspapers have refused to issue a response, Femi Fani-Kayode has said that he would meet Alabi in court.

In the case filed  Thursday, July 9, with the High Court of Federal Capital Territory,Abuja Sodiq Alabi is asking the court to, among other things, order the duo of ThisDay and Fani-Kayode to each issue a categorical retractions of the publications and public apologies in national dailies and pay him the sum of 50 million naira damages.

On the reason he is towing the path of litigation, Alabi remarks: “This lawsuit is an opportunity for me to seek redress, clear my name and have the offenders punished for their injurious actions. There is a need to ensure that media platforms like ThisDay newspapers do not lend themselves to a campaign of misinformation and this is best achieved by holding them responsible for their actions and inaction”

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