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Defamation: Benue Govt Demands N5 Billion Damages From Newspaper



Benue Governor Warns Against Interference In His Administration

The Benue State Government has officially demanded N5 billion in damages from the publishers of the New Telegraph Newspaper following what it termed a defamatory publication against Governor Hyacinth Alia, News About Nigeria reports.

In a statement issued on Thursday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kula Tersoo, the government asked that the newspaper retract the story in question.

The contentious report, published in the online edition of the New Telegraph Newspaper on December 11, 2023, alleged that Governor Alia joined forces with Rotimi Amaechi and donated a Lexus LX 600 SUV to the former transportation minister.

This, according to the statement issued, implies improper use of state funds.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and Public Order, Fidelis Mnyim, described the publication as false and fabricated, aiming to tarnish the governor’s character and portray him as someone misusing public funds for personal favours.

In the statement issued, the government expressed that the defamatory story had the malicious intent to vilify and denigrate Governor Alia, causing grievous pain and humiliation.

The Commissioner for Justice said that the publication disregarded the Code of Ethics for Nigerian journalists in creating a report injurious to both the governor and the state government.

The Benue State Government has now called for the withdrawal of the publication, a public apology to be published within 24 hours, and the payment of N5 billion as compensation for the damage caused to the governor’s reputation. 

Failure to comply within the stipulated timeframe may lead to legal action, as indicated in the statement.