In a bid to curtail the excesses of political detractors who are head-bent on destroying the reputation of Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, ahead of the 2015 Delta governorship elections, a N20 Billion libel suit (A/151/2014) has been filed against one Mr. John Agbe as Defendant at the High Court, Asaba on the behalf of Senator Okowa (Claimant).
The said Agbe, had allegedly made spurious, malicious and unfounded allegations and publications against Senator Okowa to further “Pull him down” as he (Okowa) has continued to glide above the tense political tide in Delta state.
This is just as Okowa’s solicitors have cried out in an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan of grandiose plots by certain political detractors to smear the reputation of the serving Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly.
They also approached the Presidency to direct the security agencies to further provide security for the distinguished senator as a result of threats to his life and investigate the framed up allegations against him and urgently prosecute the perpetrators of the spurious lies.
In the writ of summons dated 1st July 2014, Senator Okowa’s claim as issued by his legal counsel, Peter Mrakpor Esq include:
1. Damages for libel contained in the issue of Leadership Sunday Newspaper of 29th June 2014 on page 11, in the sum of N20, 000, 000, 000 (Twenty Billion Naira) only.
2. Retraction of said publication and public apology.
3. An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Defendant whether by himself and/or through his agents, proxies and privies from further writing, printing or circulating or causing to be written, printed or circulated or otherwise publishing of the Claimant the said or any other similar libel.
Also in exercising the “right of reply”, solicitors to Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, have reacted in strong terms to certain incessant, spurious and malicious allegations levelled against the serving senator, who also has the intentions to contest in the 2015 governorship elections in Delta state.
The open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan was dated 1st July 2014 and titled “Malicious Campaign By Political Detractors Against The Person Of Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa.”
The open letter, a rejoinder by solicitors to Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, responding to a publication titled, “A Passionate appeal for justice and your urgent intervention to order full investigation of the gruesome murderers of Late Mr. Arthur Agbe, a youth from Delta state”, published in Leadership Newspaper of 29th June 2014, read in parts:
“Your Excellency, our client, Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, ordinarily does not respond to spurious allegations by persons who over the years never shown that they do not fear the Almighty God, but have decided to respond now, not only to protect his hard earned reputation, the exalted office of a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but also because he is a Christian, a father and mentor to several people within and outside Nigeria.
“It is on record that since 2003, some persons particularly from the Ika axis in Delta state, have seen our client as a threat to their political future and consistently raised spurious allegations against his person to no avail.
“The attacks and malicious allegations against our client’s reputation stems from the fact that there is a Governorship election in a few months time and all must be done to stop him…….and the so called passionate appeal for justice by one Charles Chimezie Esq claiming to act as solicitor to the family of John Agbe of Agbor, Delta state in respect of the alleged murder of one Arthur Agbe in 2003 is yet another of such allegations.
“Your Excellency, the so called allegations of criminal activities against our client is as usual the handiwork of fading political opponents who have refused to mature to the reality that the Nigeria of today and the Nigeria of our future, is a Nigeria of honourable men and women of integrity who strive to make life better for our people.
“Sir, we have endeavoured to set out the facts with full knowledge that issues of libel and malicious slander are within the purview of the law courts and while our client take steps in that regard.
“Sir, we appeal that the security agencies be directed to take immediate and urgent action against all persons exposed by Mr. Sunday Okonye in his Press Conference of 29th June 2014, as well as protect our client and his family.”
Recall that recently a new twist emerged a hotelier, Mr. Sunny Okonye who was shot by suspected political hoodlums in Boji-Boji-Agbor, Ika South Local Council of Delta State over an alleged burning down of a campaign billboard said he was coerced to implicate Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and his aides, shortly after the incident.
Okonye had named some persons who planned to frame up the Senator Okowa in a bid to dent his political records ahead of the 2015 governorship elections in Delta state, in which he has indicated interest to contest.
Meanwhile, in a chat with Blank NEWS Online in Asaba on Thursday, June 03, 2014, Okowa’s solicitor, Peter Mrakpor Esq, disclosed that “there is a threat to his client’s (Okowa) life and we have gone to the police to protect us.
“It is completely politically motivated and unfortunately not the right way to play modern-day politics.
The series of events shows that somebody is acting a script. We do not know what next they would claim. Their intention is to destroy our client and we would not allow that to happen.”
The open letter Signed by Peter Mrakpor Esq. was addressed to Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan was copied to the Vice President, Arch. Namadi Sambo; Senate President, David Mark; Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar; Chairman Board of Trustees of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih; National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Mu’azu; Governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; Delta Commissioner of Police, Ikechukwu Aduba as well as the Director of State Security (DSS).