A former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who is having a runny legal battle with his fourth wife and ex-beauty pageant, Precious Chikwendu, has threatened to sue Punch Newspaper for exposing his assault video.
Fani-Kayode in the letter of intent to sue signed by his lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, on Friday, alleged that the media organisation was financially induced to release the tape and also failed to contact him.
In the copy of the sue letter obtained by SaharaReporters, Fani-Kayode is asking for N6 billion negotiation, the failure of which he would proceed to court.
— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) March 19, 2021
The letter is addressed to the Managing Director, Punch Newspaper, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (sic) and titled, “Letter of intent to sue: Defamation of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode by the Punch Newspaper, alongside her sponsors – Ms Precious Chikwendu and Prisca Chikwendu.”
It partly reads, “Our client is Chief Femi Fani-Kayode. He has instructed us to notify you of his intention to activate judicial machineries against your outfit for civil and criminal libel. Known to you in recent times, is the embroiled battled between our client and his estranged wife. You are also aware of the civil suit which she (Ms Precious Chikwendu) commenced against him at an Abuja High court for custody of their children.
“Considering your pride of place, as the fourth estate of the realm, it is expected that you will furnish the unsuspecting public with balanced information, devoid of malice and personal gains.
“Presently, our client strongly feels that your outfit has compromised this sacred role, for reasons not unconnected to financial inducement. This is because on March 18, 2021, certain demining videos were authorised for release to the public stream on your Facebook platform, for onward consumption by millions of people around the globe.
“You are quite aware that the persons who feature in the videos are our clients’ erstwhile domestic staff who had left his employ since 2018 and 2019. It is our clients; belief that if you were operating within the realms of professionalism, your outfit would have crosschecked these facts with him in order to ensure balanced reportage.
“However, for whatever it is worth you may wish to enter negotiation with us for the sum of N6 billion naira as a token amount for penitence, apologise on the platform to our client which you made available to scandalise him and thereafter assist the police with investigation. You have seven days from the receipt of this letter to mitigate the highlighted wrongs in the above terms. Should you fail to do so, we shall proceed to seek the appropriate redress in court.”
Only last Friday, the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on Friday quashed the purported service of court processes served on Fani-Kayode, in the suit instituted against him by his ex-wife.
The decision followed the doubt in the mind of the court as to whether personal service was actually effected on the politician as required by law.
Also, the trial court held that the affidavit of service deposed to by the court bailiff was very clear that he did not see the former Minister personally when he took the process to his Abuja residence.
Although Justice Slyvester Oriji held that there was proof before the court that the respondent was actually in receipt of the court summons, there is no evidence that he was personally served by the bailiff as required by the rules of court.
“The text message from the respondent to the applicant, which reads in part: ‘I received your summons, we shall meet in court” proves the fact that he has actually received service,’” the judge had said.
He, however, had stated that the police would investigate whether the acknowledgement containing the endorsement with the name of the respondent was actually forged or not.
“The issue of whether the respondent actually signed the document or any other person signed on his behalf is subject of investigation by police and the court cannot make any findings on it.
“I need to point out that the bailiff did not see the respondent personally as contained in his affidavit of service. Bailiff should have insisted to see him personally and if that was not possible, he could have returned the process to the court.
“In the light of the doubt cast on personal service of the process on the respondent, it is proper to set it aside. The purported service is hereby set aside”, Justice Oriji had ruled.
The court, however, refused the prayer made by counsel for the respondent, Adeola Adedipe, for the striking out of the suit.
SaharaReporters, New York