A publication by Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Center (RULAAC) which indicated an alleged involvement of one Engineer Oliver Nnanyere Osuagwu in the burning of the Aboh Mbaise and Itu Ezinihitte Mbaise police stations has continued to generate controversy.
In the said report, RULAAC also alleged that Osuagwu was involved in financing other terrorist activities.
But reacting, the accused, in a letter through his solicitors, Chigbundu Chambers, debunked the claims made in the publications, describing such as a malicious attempt at tarnishing his image.
In the letter dated August 11, the solicitors also stated that the publication is a breach of Nigeria's Cybercrime Act highlighting offences of criminal defamation, stalking, harassment, aiding and abetting.
They further requested for a retraction of the publication and apology from RULAAC as they threatened to take further legal actions should RULAAC fail to do so.
The letter read, “We are lawyers to Engr Oliver Nnanyere Osuagwu of Itu autonomous community in Ezinihitte local government area of Imo state whom in this context shall be referred to as our client and on whose instruction, we demand from you as follows:
“That our client's attention wass drawn to a malicious publication that originated from your organisation which was caused to be published and circulated to the whole world on the 7th day of August, 2021 with the intent of tarnishing our client's reputation and image.
“That the said irresponsible and malicious publication that originated from your organisation caused to be published online constitutes a clear breach of several sections of Nigeria's cybercrime (prohibition and prevention) act 2015 especially on the offences of criminal defamation, stalking, harassment, aiding and abetting.
“That your malicious publication is a clear negation of the noble civic duty of responsible advocacy and unethical to the supposed mandate of RULAAC that states that it is to foster transparent, researched and unbiased publications in promoting human rights and rule of law.
“That your sponsors, for whatever intent and purpose accused our client of perpetrating terror by burning down Aboh Mbaise and Itu Ezinihitte Mbaise police stations in addition to financing other terrorist activities.
“We demand from you, in your interest and without further delay to publish an unreserved letter of apology and retraction of the falsehood that your organization caused to be published online in two prints and online platforms not more than 72 hours after the receipt of this letter.
“We will not hesitate to file a criminal complaint against your organisation and seek other legal remedies thereafter, should you fail to publish the retraction and the said letter of apology at the expiration of the 72 hours after the receipt of the letter.”
However, in their response, Duke Licit Advocates, solicitors of RULAAC stated that Osuagwu and his legal team can go ahead with their threat to institute legal actions as they are not aware their client has committed any crime.
Duke Licit Advocates also reiterated the stance of their client, noting that the petition against Osuagwu and his cohorts will be followed till it reaches a logical conclusion.
The letter read, “Our client has referred to your letter dated 11th of August, 2021with the above subject matter to our firm wherein you have insinuated that our client has violated the cybercrime (prohibition and prevention) act 2015 as well as sponsored libellous online publication against your Client.
“As you are well aware, the actions of your client sponsoring hoodlums to create mayhem by destroying lives and property in Itu, Ezinihitte Mbaise amongst others is subject of investigation before the Nigeria police force Zone 9 Command Headquarters, Umahia.
“Therefore, your referral to the fact that our client is in breach of any law is unfounded as you are well aware of the meaning of qualified privileged communication.
“On this note, our client will not be intimidated or cowered into abandoning their petition against your client and his cohorts and will pursue it to a logical conclusion.
“Our client is happy to meet your client in court if he so desires to ventilate his unfounded allegations against our client.”