Immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim has dragged the national vice chairman (South-South) of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Cairo Ojougboh, and All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain, Mr. Timi Frank, before an Abuja High Court slamming each with N1billion defamation suit.
Anyim in a write of summons dated August 7, 2015, which was obtained by Nigerian Pilot yesterday, demanded a combined N2billion as general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages over publications and interviews granted by Ojougboh in which he alleged that the Centenary City project was a scam.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that in an interview published on page 3 of a nation daily newspaper on July 13, 2015, titled ‘Jonathan’s Centenary City is Crime Personified,’ Ojougboh said, “The Centenary City built during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was a blueprint for corruption.”
The PDP chieftain went further to claim that “somebody within that office called the SGF had the impunity to tell Nigerians lies that the Centenary City is a Public Private Partnership arrangement, I mean it is a lie.”
In another story published on page 15 of a newspaper on July 18, 2015, titled ‘Ojougboh Alleges Ex-SGF Anyim Threatening His Life,’ Ojougboh alleged that Anyim was threatening his life for blowing the whistle on the corruption and fraud involving the former Senate president in the Abuja Centenary City project.”
The chairman of Governing Council of NEPZA further alleged that he was forcefully removed from office as chairman of the Board of Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority, by the former SGF for unravelling the allegation of fraud levelled against him.
In the suit filed on his behalf by Mike Ozekhome’s chambers, Anyim is contending that the publications are false, unfounded, baseless and constitute a figment of Ojougboh’s warped imagination, which are calculated to bring him to great disrepute and lower him in the estimation of right thinking and reasonable members of the public.
Anyim further stressed that the stories were maliciously concocted to frustrate the Centenary City project, and in particular, to scare away foreign partners as well as incite the investors and management of the Centenary City project against him and lower him in their eyes.
Anyim is seeking, among other things, an order of the court directing the defendant (Cairo Ojougboh) to pay him the sum of N1 billion as general, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages over the embarrassment, public odium, derision, ridicule, obloquy, mental agony and psychological trauma which Ojougboh’s publications had caused him.
The same petition was also served to Timi Frank but no date has been fixed for hearing the case, as the courts are yet to resume from vacation.