From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Enugu State Chairman, Ugochukwu Agballah, has written the former Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, Charles Ako, given him 48-hour ultimatum to pay him the sum of N2 billion as damages for alleged defamatory publication the later made in the media.

He also demanded that Ako should retract the publication in question and apologize to him.

Agballah, in the letter written by his lawyer, Vincent Chieyine, to Ako, dated March 30, 2023, accused the former publicity secretary of maliciously publishing so many defamatory statements against him.

Ako, he said, accused him (Agballah), of “converting the All Progressives Congress party into a private company-like status, embezzlement of party funds, exclusion and sidelining of the State Executive Committee (SEC), State Working Committee (SWC) and members of the party in the running of the affairs of the party.”

He also claimed in the letter the former publicity secretary falsely published that he “diverted funds meant for the delegates of the APC for the presidential primary election and the money provided by the party for the 2023 general elections.”

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Agballa’s lawyer’s letter further reads, “For the avoidance of doubt, our client neither received the alleged sums nor misappropriated nor embezzled the above stated funds as alleged in your publication or otherwise.

“Your publication is a deliberate attempt to tarnish the image and reputation of our client and blackmail him before the All Progressives Congress (APC), its leadership, members of the party and the general public.

“It is quite evident that your defamatory publication was as a result of your removal from the office of Publicity Secretary of the party (which you had been illegally assuming and usurping for long) by the State Working Committee and ratification of same by the State Executive Committee on the 28th of March, 2023.”

The APC state chairman said that Ako’s “false publication was no doubt maliciously done to divert attention from his obvious misdeeds in the party,” stressing that Ako ought to have known before his removal as member of SWC that “all the money used in the campaign and running of the party in the state, were provided by Chief Uche Nnaji, the governorship candidate,” and same disbursed directly to the wards and local governments, and never through the state executive.

Stating that campaign was over and he would no longer tolerate any malicious publication against his hard earned reputation, Agballah therefore demanded Ako’s immediate retraction of his alleged libelous online publication made on 29th and 30th March 2023 asserting its falsity; publication of full page apology to the chairman, vetted by his client’s firm and published in five online media outfits and three National Dailies; and payment of N2 billion damages for defamation of character.

The letter also said, “Note that you are required to fully comply with this demand letter within 48 hours from the date herein; otherwise, our client shall have no option than to explore all legal avenues available to him for the protection of his reputation and image.”