The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Dikko Abdullahi, has dragged the publisher of Shipping World magazine, Elder Asu Beks to court over allegations of defamation.
In a N1 billion suit filed by the Plaintiff at the High Court holden in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the defendant, Asu Beks has been summoned to appear before the court on Thursday, March 7, 2013 to defend himself against the allegations.
The Counsel to the Comptroller General of Customs, Mr. Amobi Nzelu, alleged that the Elder Asu Beks had, on a breakfast show, Today on STV, broadcast on August 22, 2012, accused Dikko of financing the dreaded Boko Haram sect.
But in a swift reaction to the suit, Elder Asu Beks denied the allegations made by the defendant at another edition of the programme that was aired on Friday, February 15, 2013.
The Plaintiff claimed that the dispute arose after Abdullahi openly and vehemently reprimanded him (Asu Beks) for condemning the activities of Boko Haram in a communiqué issued at the end of an Ijaw Nation Forum meeting on January 7, 2012.
In the communiqué published as an advertorial on page 9 of the January 15, 2012 edition of The Sun Newspaper, the Ijaw Nation Forum, to which Asu Beks belongs, out rightly condemned the dreaded Boko Haram sect and called on the group to desist from further attacks on southerners living in the northern part of Nigeria.
This must have angered the Customs boss who reacted angrily towards Asu Beks when the latter paid him a visit on January 25, 2012 at the Customs Headquarters in Abuja.
According to Asu Beks, he was surprised when Dikko, who had always received him with open arms said, “You, Asu Beks, I thought you were my friend I never knew you are anti-north. How can you come out so openly to condemn Boko Haram on the pages of a newspaper? Well, the Sultan of Sokoto has seen this too, and has directed that I should not have anything to do with you…”
In addition to the N1 billion damages demanded by Dikko, in which Silverbird Communications Limited, operators of Silverbird Television are joined in, the defendant also states claims for the following:
1. A declaration that the statements/words authored and spoken by the 1st defendant (Asu Beks) concerning the Plaintiff (Dikko) financing and funding Boko Haram sect and aired by the 2nd defendant (Silverbird Communications Ltd.) on the 22nd of August, 2012 are false, malicious and without foundation.
2. A declaration that the plaintiff is neither financing nor funding Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
3. A declaration that the airing of the programme wherein the 1st defendant authored and spoke about the plaintiff by the 2nd defendant is mischievous, and a calculated attempt to tarnish the hard earned
image and reputation of the plaintiff.
4. An apology to be aired by the 2nd defendant during their prime time for one week retracting the content of the said programme.
5. An apology by the 1st defendant to the plaintiff to be published in the front page of seven national dailies to wit: Punch, Sun, Thisday, Leadership, Daily Trust, Tribune and Guardian Newspapers retracting the said libellous and defamatory programme wherein he spoke concerning the plaintiff.
6. A perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant whether by himself, assigns, agents, privies or whosoever purporting to act on his behalf from authoring, speaking or further authoring or speaking words in any programme or interview that is defamatory, libellous and malicious against the person of the plaintiff.