Philanthropist and business mogul, Prince Arthur Eze, is demanding the sum of N200 billion from the management of Wema Bank Plc for the false and defamatory publication” of his name and photograph among the debtors of the bank in a national daily on August 7, he said.
In pursuance to this, he is also demanding the sum of N200 billion from the management of the national newspaper, Punch Nigeria Limited, within seven days for publishing and circulating the “highly defamatory and injurious falsehood” to the effect that he (Eze) was among the directors of a debtor company, Genesis Electricity Limited which owes Wema Bank Plc the sum of N136.93 million.
Eze, who wrote the bank and the media organisation through his counsel, Chief G. Tagbo Ike of Ike & Associates in Enugu, said the contentious publication captioned: ‘Arthur Eze’s firm among Wema Bank loan defaulters’ and published along with his photograph was totally false and untrue as he (Eze) had nothing to do with the alleged debtor company.
The letters dated August 7, 2015, copies of which were obtained by journalists in Enugu, read: “It is our instruction that on August 7, 2015, you caused to be published and circulated in a daily newspaper, ‘The Punch’, a highly defamatory and injurious falsehood to the effect that our client is among the debtors of a debtor company, Genesis Electricity Limited, which owes your bank the sum of N136.93 million.
“To bring home to the reading public, you caused the said publication to be made along with the photograph of our client inserted in the most conspicuous front-page of the said newspaper.
“In the said publication, you put up a screaming headline on the front cover of the said publication to wit ‘Arthur Eze’s firm among Wema bank loan defaulters’.”
The details were contained in page 25 of the said publication that:
“Genesis Electricity Limited, a firm in which a business mogul, Prince Arthur Eze, is listed among its directors, is said to owe Wema Bank Plc the sum of N136.93million, according to the list of delinquent debtors published by the bank last Friday.”
Continuing, Ike stated that: “The said publication is as fallacious as our client has nothing to do with the alleged debtor company, Genesis Electricity Limited. Indeed our client is neither a shareholder nor a director of the said company. It is obvious that you deliberately set out on a mission to unleash public opprobrium on him, defame and ridicule our client before the public, the state and federal governments of Nigeria, and indeed the international community and cause them to shun and distance themselves from him.
“To assuage your libelous publication and defamation of our client, we demand the payment of the sum of N200 billion to this chambers within seven days of the date of this letter, along with publication of retraction and public apology inserted in at least three national dailies, one of which shall be in the Punch newspaper, and given equal prominence, like the offensive publication.
“In default of your compliance as herein before demanded, we shall surely seek legal redress against you, along with your collaborator, The Punch newspaper.”
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