Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described as “totally false and baseless” reports in certain sections of the digital media that he benefited from some of the loot recovered by embattled boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
Magu has been in police custody after being picked up from the streets of Abuja Monday, July 6, 2020; and is being grilled by a presidential probe panel for discrepancies in recovered loot and assets.
In a statement by his media aide, Laolu Akande, the vice president said: “The attention of the Office of the Vice President has been drawn to a series of tweets and online publications by Point Blank News and Newsreel.com.ng today 8th July, 2020, credited to the same person, one Jackson Ude,”
“In essence, Ude’s story is that ‘embattled former Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission allegedly embezzled over N39 billion and gave Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (sic) N4 billion, after the VP gave instructions to him to release some of the recovered loots…’
“The same Jackson Ude has also been circulating a video on Youtube with a female commentator, peddling the same lies.
“With all emphasis at our disposal, let it be firmly stated that these are totally false and baseless fabrications purporting to reflect goings-on at the probe panel investigating Mr. Ibrahim Magu. There are indeed completely absurd in every respect,” he said.
The statement also disclosed that relevant law enforcement agencies were now on the trail of the publisher.
“Sadly, such mindless, vicious and reckless publications have now become the preferred tool of unscrupulous and reprobate elements in our society who are procured with monetary inducement to peddle blatant falsehood, tarnish the image of upright public officials and mislead unsuspecting Nigerians.
“Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) will of course not be distracted by these obvious campaigns of lies and calumny. The online publications, being criminally defamatory in nature, have been referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies for investigation and necessary action.”
The Presidency is set to announce Magu’s replacement in the coming hours, with Mohammed Umar asked to fill the void at the EFCC on a temporary basis,” Osinbajo further said.
VP petitions IGP
Meanwhile, the vice presidentThursday sent a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, demanding a thorough investigation of Jackson Ude, a Nigerian blogger, and publisher of Point Blank News.
Osinbajo in the petition dated July 8, 2020, said Ude was in the habit of publishing malicious articles against his person, while attaching printed copies of some of the blogger’s reports to the petition, as proofs.
In the petition titled ‘Criminal Defamation of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), GCON by Jackson Ude’, authored on his behalf by his lawyer, Bayo Osipitan, the vice president said Ude wrote a story in which it was alleged that the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, who is facing a presidential probe, told the investigative panel that he gave N4billion to Osinbajo.
He therefore called on the IGP to investigate the blogger with a view to prosecuting him for criminal defamation, adding that the articles were defamatory as well as capable of bringing the vice president to ridicule before members of the public.
Osinbajo said Ude also likened him to alleged international fraudster Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi, by calling him ‘Hush-bajo’.
“These vicious and malicious publications are meant to achieve one objective only, to present to his readership and others (Nigerians and foreigners) that our client is a dishonest and disloyal public officer and consequently unfit for the position of Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria he is occupying.
“We are of the view that unless an action for criminal defamation is commenced against the said Mr. Jackson Ude, he will continue to use his social media platform to publish materials that are false and criminally defamatory of our client’s reputation.
“In view of the above, we humbly request that you cause the above allegations made against our client to be investigated and if the suggested investigation confirms our complaint of the falsehood of these allegations, to initiate criminal proceedings pursuant to the provisions of Sections 391-395 of the Penal Code Act for criminal defamation against the said Jackson Ude,” the petition said.