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Ex-Nigerian Envoy To Namibia, Onoh Threatens Lawsuit Against SaharaReporters For Exposing Financial Misappropriations

September 30, 2021

Onoh was accused of illegal diversion of funds meant for the day-to-day operation of the mission and was asked to refund the sum of $45,539.11 (about N19 million), $70,448 (about N30 million), and N614,000. This was part of the recommendation of the seven-man committee headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda.

A former Nigerian High Commissioner to Namibia, Lilian Onoh, has threatened to sue SaharaReporters over a publication exposing how she allegedly engaged in financial misappropriations while serving in the southern African country.

Onoh made the threat in a letter signed by her counsel, S. G Kekere-Akpe to the editor of the newspaper.


SaharaReporters had quoted the report of a seven-man committee that indicted Onoh over alleged financial misappropriation.

Onoh was accused of illegal diversion of funds meant for the day-to-day operation of the mission and was asked to refund the sum of $45,539.11 (about N19 million), $70,448 (about N30 million), and N614,000. This was part of the recommendation of the seven-man committee headed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda.

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The committee also had a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs as a member.

The committee, which was set up by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama following allegations of corruption by former High Commissioner Onoh against some officials of the Nigerian Mission in Namibia, travelled to Windhoek, Namibia on April 12, 2021, where they were received by the Charge d' Affaires, Mr. Ali Gombe.

Following the discovery of the infractions, Onoh was asked to refund the sum of $42,500 as an education supplement in respect of her adopted daughters and refund $2, 614 as Excess on AIE (Excess payment).

She was also asked to refund N66,168 spent on airfare of two domestic helps, $425 spent on stopover for "two domestic helps and N34,000 for an extra night in Abuja hotel.” 

Others are; "Hotel accommodation - 11-17 December, 2017, N312, 000; Guest hotel accommodation - 26-31 December, 2018, N268, 200."

SaharaReporters gathered that Onoh made several attempts to twist and conceal the report of the committee to stop the process to carry out disciplinary actions against her.

SaharaReporters had learnt she engaged the services of intermediaries, asking the Minister to interfere with the work of the committee so that she could get a soft landing and a clean bill. It was learnt that when the Minister refused to intervene, she became desperate and resorted to blackmail.

It was learnt that as part of her desperation to change the narrative and stop the administrative process, Onoh came up with a defamatory petition against the Minister and copied President Muhammadu Buhari.

SaharaReporters gathered that when she learnt that the minister was exonerated by the presidency and that there was a recommendation against her for unfairly bringing the ministry and civil service into disrepute, she then resorted to media blackmail by leaking her petition to the press.

SaharaReporters learnt that Onoh had been rejected by some countries she was posted to for being confrontational, combative, and disrespectful to the authorities.

Sources alleged that Onoh was at a point fired but her dismissal was reversed owing to her influence as a daughter of a former Governor of old Anambra State, Chief C.C. Onoh.

In reaction, Onoh demanded a retraction from SaharaReporters with an apology carried out with the same prominence on the platform within 48 hours.

She also claimed the story had dented her reputation and that of her late father, C.C Onoh.

The letter reads partly, “We are solicitors to Ambassador Lilian Onoh, Former High Commissioner of Nigeria to Namibia, of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja (hereinafter referred to as 'Our Client') and it is on her instruction and behalf that we write you this letter.

“Our client has been inundated with calls and messages from Nigeria and abroad over your organisation's false and unfounded allegations which is (sic) libellous and has (sic) irreparably dented our client's sterling image and reputation not to mention the reputation of His Excellency, Late Chief C.C. Onoh, himself of such unimpeachable integrity and probity that he was the only Governor released within 2 weeks of the 31 December, 1983 Coup by the Head of State, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari, while other Governors were sentenced to several hundred years for corruption.

“In the case of our client, all her entitlements were duly written on pages 2 and 3 of her Letter of Appointment and in no instance was she paid anything that was not in her Letter of Appointment. Also, our client was not paid some of the outrageous sums in your publication, much of which were totally fabricated.

“We also note that the House Panel was in Windhoek on the 13th of April, 2021 and not on the 21st of April, 2021 as published by your organization and that their report would have been submitted to Hon. Buba Yakub for adoption by the full Committee and then submitted to Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, for adoption by the full House.

“Our client challenges your organisation to publish the certified true copy of the report of the House Investigative Panel that traveled to Windhoek on 13th April, 2021 being a public document to evidence to the public where the House Investigative Panel indicted our client and demanded the refund of N50million for unauthorised claims in order to justify that your publication, under reference, was not a hatched publication intended only to injure our client's hard-earned reputation.

“In view of the foregoing, our client demands, that your organisation tenders an unreserved apology to her within 48 hours, with same level of prominence with which your organisation published its defamatory article and remove the article from your organisation's publications and any other platform on which it was circulated, while ensuring that its retraction and apology are equally published: and circulated on those platforms.

“TAKE NOTICE that if your organization fails and/or refuses to comply with our client's demands within 48 hours, we shall perfect our client's further instruction to institute legal action against your organization and its principal officers, without further recourse to you or your organization, for defamation and aggravated damages of Five Billion Naira.

“We hope that your organisation will accede to our client's demands promptly and forestall the expense and embarrassment of litigation.”