Ethiopia trip: OBJ Spokesman threatens lawsuits against AFP

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Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta

Special Assistant on Media to the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Kehinde Akinyemi has disclosed that his purported quote on the visit of his boss to Ethiopia was false and libellous.

A news agency, AFP quoted the Media Aide as having said the mission and purpose for which Chief Obasanjo was going to Ethiopia on Monday, a development that has ignited distraught.

Akinyemi said there was no time he told the reporter on the mission of his boss to the Northern African country and demanded an immediate retraction and apology from the AFP, the publisher of the story.

According to the Akinyemi in a statement, the reporter had gave him a phone call at about 10.00am on Monday to confirm  Obasanjo’s destination to Ethiopia after giving a background of the visit, “and, I responded that, ‘he is already on his way’ to the country. No more, no less.

“He wanted to know how long the visit would take and I was not happy with such question, which he immediately apologized and bidded me bye.

“It came as a rude shock few hours later, when my boss called me telling me to go and withdraw what a newspaper published about me of having said of his trip. I was surprised and confused.

“I rushed to the site mentioned and to my amazement; I started reading my quoted words, as having said what the former President was going to Ethiopia to do. This is high point of jungle journalism.

“These were the words: ‘He is on his way to Addis Ababa for ‘talks’… He is going there for mediation’.

“I put a call through to him and asked if I did mention the above statements and he was talking about technology. My simple question is why did you put me on quote of what I do not say? I immediately demanded for retraction or I will approach the courts to seek redress. This is irresponsible publication coming from the figment of his own imagination.

Some other prominent local and international news agencies who called on the same development clearly understood and I appreciated their concern.

“To put the records straight, I’m aware that my Boss is heading to Ethiopia, which I gave out as expected and expected of a responsible spokesman, but his mission is not and never known to me and I never told anybody that he was ‘on his way…for talks’ and ‘He is going to there for mediation’.”