MKO Abiola’s widow drags Nigeria Police Force to court over defamation

Prof. Zainab Abiola, the wife of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Chief MKO Abiola, has dragged the Nigeria Police Force, Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali to a Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged defamation.

Joined as respondents were Ibrahim Alkali (son of the IGP) and former police Orderly, Teju Moses.

Abiola in the suit with reference No FHA/ABJ/CS/2370/202 filed by her lawyer, Tawo Tawo (SAN), is challenging the police for violating her fundamental human rights to life, and dignity of the human person.

The plaintiff in her statement of claim obtained by journalists on Sunday, averred that she was framed on September 20, 2022, by one Ibrahim Alkali, the adopted son of the IGP,  that she inflicted injury on her former orderly, Inspector Moses, a development she said has caused so much damage to her name and reputation.

Abiola said that as a Chief Legal Consultant of the force, Alkali’s son had sometime in 2021 requested for a bribe of N20 million from her under the guise of greasing the palms of top officers to expand her office.

She said, her refusal to offer the N20 million bribe infuriated  Ibrahim and he had been nursing evil plans and grudges against her adding that Ibrahim in his desperate bid to achieve his plans insisted that Moses remained her orderly even after she was declared unfit and withdrawn by the IGP.

“He conspired with my ex-orderly to lie that I inflicted bodily harm on her. We have CCTV camera’s around that will reveal what happened when the proceedings commenced,” she said.

Abiola’s widow further said that ever since she was humiliated, dragged to court and condemned by the court of public opinion, her personality and image had been irredeemably battered by the defamation, and assassination of character thereby diminishing her status in society.

The plaintiff further averred that the incident caused her so much damage, trauma, ill-health and reduced her standing and recognition in the global society bearing in mind the fact that they had attained an international reputation.

She said, “The aforementioned incident has caused me so much damage, trauma, ill-health and reduced my standing and recognition in the global society bearing in mind that i have attained an international reputation.

“The publication in print, electronic and social media as well as national dailies by the police against my person had lowered her estimation in the eyes of right-thinking members of society.

“The acts of the defendants were libellous, scandalous, slanderous and defamatory by calling her unprintable names both in the conventional and social media.

I am therefore  pleading and relying on all relevant material and documents pertaining to the suit.”

Meanwhile, Abiola in the writ of summons has prayed to the court for a declaration that the act of the police against her and other plaintiffs caused her a series of nightmares as she is in constant fear for her life.

The plaintiff, therefore, asked the court to order the defendants to pay her the sum of N100 billion as damages for defamation, shame, ridicule, harassment, trauma, humiliation and public embarrassment meted out to her by the police.

She also prayed the court to declare, “An order of the court directing the defendants to tender an unreserved public apology in all print and electronic media.

‘’An order of this honourable court directing the defendants to issue a press statement retracting the assertions they made earlier.

“An order of this court directing the defendants to pay the plaintiffs the sum of N100 billion as damages for the defamation, shame, ridicule, harassment, trauma, humiliation and public embarrassment suffered by the plaintiffs.

“An order of this court directing the defendants to pay the sum of N100 million as the cost of this suit.

“An order of this court directing the defendants to pay the sum of N1 billion as general damages and an award of 10 per cent interest on the judgment sum from the date of judgment until final liquidation of the judgment.”

The hearing date of the suit has been fixed for February 28.

The PUNCH