A former governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has dragged Mr. Lere Olayinka, the spokesperson for Governor Ayodele Fayose, to court over alleged libel.
Joined with Olayinka in the suit is a member of the Ekiti House of Assembly, Dr. Samuel Omotoso.
In the suit, which he filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Fayemi is seeking payment of N3m to cover for what he termed the aggravated damages, which the defendants allegedly caused him.
Fayemi, who is now the Minister of Mines and Steel, claimed to have been impugned by the defendants through statements allegedly made by them on July 6, 2016 when appeared on Ekiti State Television, during a live programme tagged Ejiire.
Fayemi claimed that during the programme, which was also aired on a cable network, Startimes, the defendants said he illegally took N1.5bn from Ekiti treasury and gave it to the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, to win the 2015 presidential election.
Fayemi also claimed that Olayinka said he (Fayemi) illegally collected N5bn from Ecobank in the name of Fountain Holdings for purported road construction.
Fayemi claimed that Olayinka also accused him of spending state’s funds to build a private university for himself in Ghana.
His lawyer, Balogun, claimed that the defendants, through their alleged statements, portrayed his client as a “very corrupt public office-holder and fraudulent person who siphoned public funds at the detriment of Ekiti citizens while serving as governor.”
The lawyer claimed that the defendants had exposed his client to “public ridicule, odium, opprobrium, embarrassment and unprecedented disrepute”, arguing that the duo had done “incalculable and tremendous injury to our client’s image and personality as an international figure”.
Fayemi claimed to have resorted to filing the suit, after the defendants allegedly spurned a November 19, 2016 letter by his lawyer, Rafiu Balogun, demanding the retraction of the said statement, which he described as offensive, and a public apology.
Fayemi is urging the court to compel the defendants to retract the statement and to tender a public apology to him, to be published and aired on Ekiti State Television and Channels Television as well as on the social media.
He is also seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from further publishing or making statements or utterances similar or further libelous publications or statements or utterances against the plaintiff.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the case.