The stage is now set for an anticipated long drawn legal tussle over the alleged false publication and accusations by Rivers state government against Commander of Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad-F-SARS Assistant Commissioner of Police ACP Akin Victor Fakorede.
The issuance of a 7-day ultimatum to Governor Wike and Rivers state Government to retract the offensive publications was made by Ayodele Akintunde the legal representative of ACP Akin Fakorede who had written a 10-page letter delivered on Tuesday 22nd of May, 2018 to Rivers state government vide the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Emma Aguma (SAN).
The Letter stated that “the allegations that our client is an election rigger and an enemy of democracy, and that our client is recruiting, training and arming a special squad to rig the 2019 elections in Rivers state through violent means are totally false and baseless. In the consequence, our client’s reputation has been seriously damaged and has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment. We hereby demand that you retract the libelous publications contained in the national Newspapers within seven days of the receipt of this letter and tender an unreserved apology to our client for damages to his reputation and the distress and embarrassment caused him by the libelous publications.
“The retraction and apology must be given much publicity as your libelous advertisements and they must be inserted on the front pages of the same newspapers, in as large a type and in as prominent positions as your advertisements. The apology must also be printed/published twice the number of times your libelous advertisements were published in each of the national newspapers. The Rivers state government must also give a written undertaking never again to publish any similar libel against our client in future. Take notice that if you do not cause to be printed/ published, a retraction and an unreserved apology in the manner demanded within seven days of receipt of this letter, and pay an agreed amount as damages for the libel, we have our client’s instruction to commence legal action against the Rivers state government for N2billion as damages for libel. You have been warned.”
The Rivers state government led Nyesom Ezenwo Wike did embark on special advertorial publications on the front pages of major national newspapers and inside pages of Newspapers alleging false claims from INEC resulting from the rivers state Legislative election Rerun in 2016. And the publications came at a time when Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris set up 15man investigative Panel which sat in 2017 and exonerated Assistant Commissioner of Police ACP Akin Victor Fakorede from all the allegations leveled against him even the INEC reports according to the Counsel to Akin Fakaorede said that All the allegations contained in the publications, including the report of INEC, are false, malicious and completely unfounded. During the 2016 Rivers rerun elections, our client never assaulted Mary Tunkayo, Dr. C. Odekpe or any INEC staff. This is clear from all written statements obtained from the relevant INEC staff”.
The F-SARS Rivers state commander Akin Fakorede before now had written to the Inspector General of Police Idris Ibrahim seeking for permission to challenge the publications done by Rivers state government against his person. But the Rivers state Police Command had on Wednesday 23rd of May, 2018 issued Press Release signed by Police Public Relation Officer ASP Nnamdi Omoni which was advertised on page 26 of THE NATION newspaper titled “REFUTAL OF THE RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT ADVERTORIAL RE: INEC ELETION REPORT THE STORY OF AKIN FAKOREDE IN RIVERS STATE.” In the published advertorial by Police part of which states that “the Command finds it most offending and completely unacceptable for the Rivers state Governments to refer to one of its principal officers as election Rigger and Enemy of democracy, and wishes to caution the Rivers State Government against actions and statements that are inimical to peace, order and security of the state.”
The Rivers state Police Command also went down to enlighten the public in the published/advertised Press Release saying “ all incidents arising from the Rivers Re-run elections were properly documented and investigated by the Police High Command and all persons found to have acted inappropriately were duly investigated and were necessarily, penalized within the framework of existing rules and regulations of the Force. All established cases of electoral offences were charged to court and are presently pending before the Federal High Court in charge Nos. FHC/PH/86C/2017, FHC/PH/90C/2017 and FHC/ABJ/CR/42/17.
The Police Press release further stated that “ The INEC Report referred to in the paid advertorial, in our view, lacks credibility because the Command was neither informed of the existence of this Panel nor was any Police Officer invited or represented at the INEC Panel. ACP AKIN FAKOREDE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN INDICTED BY A PANEL THAT NEITHER SPOKE TO HIM NOR HEARD FROM HIM. The time tested legal principle of fair hearing as provided in Section 36(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was completely jettisoned by the INEC Panel and the premises upon which the Panel drew its conclusion was no doubt faulty.” The waiting game has now begun as Rivers state governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike had on Tuesday 22nd May, 2018 while addressing journalists at Government House to mark his 3rd year anniversary told journalists that on the advertised publication about the activities of Police Officer Akin Fakorede he quickly responded “Who is afraid of the Court? Do not they know that Court is our House.We will meet in Court”.
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Governor Wike retorted that That Inspector General of Police “That one that does not obey Court Order” This is an indication that the Rivers state Governor may not after all give positive response to the demand by Assistant Commissioner of Police –ACP Akin Fakorede through his lawyer Ayodele Akintunde asking Rivers state Government and Governor Wike to within 7-days retract the advertised publication and pay him N2Billion damages against injuries he suffered from the publication. .”