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Betta Edu threatens to sue BBC for $50m damages

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Betta Edu

Suspended minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, has demanded that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) pull down an article titled: “Betta Edu Probe: Nigeria Recover $24 million in Poverty Minister Investigation – EFCC” from its website, immediately.

Edu threatened that should BBC fail and/or neglect to comply with the above demands, she will initiate swift legal action(s) before the appropriate Courts to obtain redress for the alleged injurious falsehood peddled in the BBC’s article, and to seek punitive and exemplary damages for $50 million against the BBC for the damage and injury suffered by her.

She alleged that the BBC recently published an article on its website: www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-Africa (Last accessed on 9th April 2024 at 17:40 GMT) titled: “Betta Edu Probe: Nigeria Recover $24 million in Poverty Minister Investigation- EFCC” with the sub-heading “Nigeria Has Recovered N30 billion ($24m; £19m) as Part of an Ongoing Corruption probe Into a Suspended Minister, the Financial Watchdog Says”.

Edu, expressed her concern, in a letter, written by Ojukwu Chikaosolu and Co Law Firm, titled: “Request for immediate Retraction of Defamatory Article Published on BBC Website against Dr Betta Edu,” and signed by the principal partner, Chikaosolu Ojukwu (SAN), averred that the aforesaid article, which presents information purporting to relate to an ongoing corruption probe into the activities of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Nigeria, is replete with innuendoes and insinuations which suggest that N30 billion has been recovered in the course of the ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from her and that the 50 bank accounts connected with the recovered sums are linked to her.

“Furthermore, your article proceeds to cast aspersion on our client by referencing her earlier suspension (to allow for unfettered investigations) in the following terms: Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Minister Betta Edu was initially suspended in January over the alleged diversion of $640,000 of public money into a personal bank account.

“First and foremost, the language used in describing our client’s purported involvement in the alleged corruption case suggests guilt without allowing for the presumption of innocence, which is fundamental in any fair and unbiased reporting. The reckless manner in which the article was crafted, without providing our client with the opportunity to respond to the allegations before its wide publication, is a clear breach of journalistic fairness and due process and demonstrates a complete disregard for journalistic integrity and professionalism.

“The headline, content, and tone of the article imply guilt on the part of our client, without any concrete evidence to substantiate such claims. This is a blatant attempt to tarnish our client’s reputation and undermine her credibility which she has earned throughout her distinguished career in both private and public life,” the letter stated.

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