Fani-Kayode Sues Daily Trust Newspaper N6bn for ‘Character Assassination’
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has demanded that the management of Media Trust Limited – publishers of Daily Trust and other publications – enter into a negotiation with him for a possible settlement of N6bn for defamation of character.
Fani-Kayode said this in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of Daily Trust, dated August 31, 2020, and titled, ‘Defamation of the character of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode by Iliyasu Gadu.’
The letter, which was signed by the former minister’s lawyer, Adeola Adesipe, was in response to an article titled, ‘FFK, the Drug Addled Thug in Designer Wears’ dated August 30, 2020, and published by the medium.
In the article, which was published in the newspaper, the writer lambasted Fani-Kayode for his conduct during a Press conference in which he described a Daily Trust reporter in Calabar, Eyo Charles, as ‘stupid’ after the journalist asked a question about the identity of persons “bankrolling” his current tour of southern states.
Gadu, the writer of the article, claimed that Fani-Kayode, who attended Cambridge University, was once “a drug addict” and had sought rehabilitation in Ghana, but “till today has not been cured of the habit.”
In his pre-litigation letter, however, Fani-Kayode described the article as libelous and demanded an apology from the newspaper, which must be published in other national dailies.
The former minister also demanded that negotiation be entered into for possible payment of N6bn due to the irreparable loss the article had caused him.
It reads in part, “Be aware that our client has not only suffered an immeasurable loss of goodwill, but he is also currently confronted with unbearable opprobrium by his fans, followers, and colleagues across the globe.
“Our client is alive to his rights both in law and equity but is disposed to an opportunity to undo the evil you have done by retracting the said insalubrious remarks on the same platform it was published and apologizing to him in two other national dailies.
“You are also advised to enter into negotiations with us for the sum of N6bn being a token amount for penitence as opposed to the magnitude of infraction caused to our client’s nobility.”
The newspaper was given 14 days to comply or face legal action.
Fani-Kayode also wrote a similar letter to Gadu, who authored the article.
The former minister drew the ire of several Nigerians recently after a viral video showed him talking down at a journalist, an incident he has apologized for.
However, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, as well as many other civic organizations, has continued to criticize Fani-Kayode, while many reporters have boycotted his ongoing tour of the southern states.