By Ovasa Ogaga, —–DELTA—— October 18th, 2016 ———–
The Provost of the School of Health Technology, Ufuama-Ughelli, Delta State, Dr. (Mrs) Agnes Olojoba has given the Blank News, an online news medium two-weeks ultimatum to retract and tender an apology over its story on alleged misappropriation of N100m accruing to the institution which was allegedly embezzled by the provost.
In a letter by her counsel, Barr Omonade Matthew Esq of the Festus Keyamu’s Chambers, Warri, Delta State she said the report which was widely circulated online, maliciously stated that their client “has virtually ran the Delta State School of Health Technology, Ofuoma aground to the tune of over N100M.
The statement said failure to retract the report published online within two weeks of the receipt of this letter, inclusive of the date of such receipt, published on Friday, 7th of October, 2016, on “Blanknewsonline.Wordpress.Com” and tender an apology to their client, which must be given equal publicity, will attract legal action.
According to him; “failure to heed to the afore- stated demands, we shall be left with no other option than to commence cogent legal action in Court against you, which will include sundry damages to assuage the irreparable loss of goodwill our client has suffered as a result of your publication.
“Our brief reveals that on Friday 7th, October, 2016 via your publication on blanknewsonline.wordpress.com, with the caption: ‘[email protected] Delta College of Health Technology, Ofuama, Ughelli, where Audit report indicts the provost.’
“This has in turn represented our client who is a seasoned academician, administrator, Provost of the Delta State School of Health Technology, Ofuoma and a highly respected Nigerian with untainted repute, with over Twenty (25) Five unblemished years in service without a single query, as a criminal, fraudster, irresponsible person, and a social misfit to reasonable members of the society, which has undoubtedly maligned our Client’s hard earned integrity and reputation, lower our client in the estimation of right thinking members of the society, exposed our client to unwarranted hatred and ridicule, and inexplicably disparaged the office and profession of our client.
“Permits us to remind you that one of your core values as a media out-fit, is to maintain a high standard of integrity, professionalism, as well as to ensure and promote equity and fairness.
He added further that, “we wish to state that our client has been a victim of constant harassment and intimidation by a member of the Governing Council over our client’s refusal to allow herself to be used as a conduit pipe for siphoning monies from the institution.
“One of such instances was on the 18th of April, 2016, when our client was threatened into signing a term loan application to Zenith Bank Plc, for the sum of N25,000,000.00 (Twenty Five Million Naira), for pseudo purposes contrary to the Civil Service Rules. Our Client however being a woman of conscience and integrity subsequently wrote a letter dated 15th June, 2016, to the Manager of Zenith Bank Plc, informing the bank not to release any loan to the school, a step which got the said member of the Governing Council demented at our client.
“It is also on record that in line with our client’s non-compromising stand, our client also refused to carry out the instruction given to her by the said member of the Governing Council to append her signature to a Memorandum of Understanding brought through the back door, between Isoko North Local Government Council ( the Local Government where the member of the Governing Council hails from) and Delta State College of Health Technology, Ofuoma for the acquisition and development to the United Nations standard of Emevor Comprehensive Health Care, Emevor, without the requisite approval either from the Ministry of Health or State Executive Council.
“That sequel to the preceding paragraphs and several other incidences wherein our client refused to be compromised, the said member of the Governing Council resorted to threatening our client and also boasting to use his political connections being a politician to remove our client from office. And wrote several bogus petitions against our client and our client adequately responded to same with credible facts and evidences.
“That sequel to the bogus petitions from the said member of the Governing Council which was driven by malice, the Executive Governor vide a letter dated 8th August, 2016, through the office of the Secretary to the State Government, requested that a special audit be conducted on the accounts of the Institution from 14th January, 2016, when the current board of the institution was inaugurated to the 8th of August, 2016. But the Audit Committee for reasons best known to them rescheduled the audit to cover from March, 2015 to March, 2016, a greater part of which our client was not the Provost of the Institution.
He stated also that, “upon the conclusion of the special audit, the Auditor-General of Delta State vide a letter dated 18th September, 2016, forwarded a copy of the Special Audit Report on the accounts of the school of Health Technology, Ofuoma to our client and upon a thorough scrutiny of same, there was nowhere in the entire twelve (12) page Special Audit Report where our client was indicted to have virtually ran the Delta State School of Health Technology, Ofuoma aground as a result of misappropriating hundreds of millions of naira accruing to the institution and illegally embezzling over N100,000,000 (one hundred million naira).
“Be further informed that our client is not oblivious of the person behind your destructive publication against her person and wish to emphatically reiterate that she will not succumb or allow herself to be intimidated from doing that which is right in the sight of God and her employer.
It is germane to state, that if you were diligent and not compromised, you would have been able to know that there is nowhere in the entire twelve (12) page Special Audit Report where our client was indicted to have virtually ran the Delta State School of Health Technology, Ofuoma aground as a result of misappropriating hundreds of millions of Naira accruing to the institution and illegally embezzling over N100m.
“It is crystal clear that no investigative work was done by you to ascertain the veracity of the heinous lies presented to you to publish. Rather you hurriedly made yourself a willing Tool and did the bidding of your sponsor, who has vowed to destroy the promising and unblemished career of our Client, who has had no criminal record in her entire career, but honours.
“We do not want to, at this point, comment on the legality or otherwise of your actions, as we shall do so at the appropriate time. However, we are constrained to say that your actions are reprehensible, ruthless, unlawful and uncivilized to say the least, as you do not have any legal or moral justification to have made yourself a willing tool in the hands of a ruthless and vicious individual to satisfy his personal aggrandizement, thereby subjecting our Client to untold hardship and unbearable embarrassment.
“We condemn your actions in its entirety, particularly at a time like this in our national life when Media out-fits are enjoined to exhibit high standard of probity and professionalism in carrying out their duties, so as to revamp the confidence of the masses in the print and electronic media. No person, group of persons or organization should be seen doing anything that will sabotage this sacred effort in any way.”