Sokoto kingmaker sues ex-governorship candidate Shinkafi for N500m libel

Alh. Hassan Danbaba

The most high-ranking kingmaker in Sokoto Caliphate, Alh. Hassan Danbaba (Magajin Garin Sokoto) has sued the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the last election, Alh. Sani Shinkafi for libelous comments on WhatsApp.

He is asking Shinkafi to pay him N500million only as general damages.

He also seeks an order of perpetual injunction to restrain Shinkafi whether by himself, his servants or agents from further publishing or causing to be published the said words or any words similarly defamatory to him.

The suit was instituted in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He alleged that Shinkafi on or about September 28, 2019 on his WhatsApp published a libelous petition against him.

He said the petition, Request to Recover Over N900 million Unremitted Funds Belonging to Zamfara State, was circulated by Shinkafi to all his contacts and members of the public.

He said he did not enter into any contract with the former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari or acquired any assets belonging to Zamfara State government .

He said the incumbent governor of Zamfara state at the time the lease agreement was executed is Alhaji Mahmud Shinkafi.

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He said: That on or about the 28th day of September, 2019 at about 4.32pm (GMT+01:00), the Defendant in a most vicious and vitriolic attack on my integrity and reputation caused to be published on the internet and particularly through the WhatsApp application accessible by any person with a smart phone, a petition signed by the Defendant and published same to his contacts on WhatsApp, who thereafter circulated the publication to their own contacts and other members of the public. the publication titled: Request to recover over N900million unremitted funds belonging to Zamfara State … which contained the following false words defamatory of me:

Stonehedge Hotel situated at 104/ Kur Muhammad Avenue, Street Abuja, Central Business District is owned by Zamfara State Government since administration of Senator Ahmed Sani (Yariman Bakura) The property was acquired and developed 100% with funds from the state government.

The past administration of Abdulaziz Yari entered into a fraudulent public private partnership (PPP) between Zamfara State Government and a businessman called Alhaii Hassan Marafa Danbaba (Magajin Garin Sokoto) who has neither the financial capacity nor the relevant experience to run a hotel business of that magnitude. All due process like tendering or advert to call for those in the industry to bid and take over the management of the hotel were never followed or done.

The hotel generated over N950,000, 000 in its over eight years of operation but unfortunately not a single kobo was paid or remitted to the state government from the above revenue generated by the hotel as contained in the public private partnership agreement.

Alhaji Hassan Danbaba (Magajin Garin Sokoto) refused to pay even a dime to Zamfara State Government in fulfilment of the PPP agreement. This completely voided the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Magajin Garin said his reputation has been gravely and flagrantly damaged.

He also said he has suffered considerable distress and embarrassment.

He added: That the defendant knew and intended that these words or statement published on the social platform would be republished by his contacts and close associates and which will equally be republished on other electronic and social platform until it is circulated all over Nigeria and indeed, the publication went viral in the sense that within a few hours a large but unquantifiable number of WhatsApp users within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and all over Nigeria and abroad read the publication including but not limited to my close friends and business associates, and many other journalists who called me to request my reaction to the allegations.

Further, the defendant knew or had reasons to know that once the publication was published on WhatsApp, it would be accessed by a substantial and unquantifiable number of people within and outside the Federal Capital Territory. Abuja.

That in consequence of the vicious, malicious, false and vitriolic publications aforesaid, my reputation has been gravely and flagrantly damaged and I have suffered considerable distress and embarrassment.

That in particular, given my position as the Magajin Garin Sokoto, the publication has caused me great embarrassment and lowered my estimation in the eyes of Nigerians generally and in particular, all the many people who are either part of or took up to the great Sokoto Caliphate as an embodiment of the great history tradition and culture of our people.

That the position of Magajin Garin Sokoto places me as the highest ranking traditional title holder right after the Sultan of Sokoto himself.

He said never contracted with the former Zamfara state governor. Abdulaziz Yari or acquired any assets belonging to Zamfara State government .

He said the incumbent governor of Zamfara state at the time the lease agreement was executed is Alhaji Mahmud Shinkafi.

He said: That Abdulaziz Yari was not the governor at the time the property was leased to Bina Consult & Associate.

While it is correct that Stonehedge Hotel, the referenced property belongs to Zamfara State Government, same was leased to Bina Consult & Associates for 20 years, renewable for another 5 years for the consideration of N155.000.000.00.

The duly executed agreement and sundry documents showing that due process was followed are hereby pleaded and shall be relied upon at the trial. Copies of the said documents are annexed to this witness Statement on Oath in the following order:

Letter dated 7th October. 2009 approving the Lease of the reference property to Bina Consult & Associates for 20 years renewable for another 5 years.

Duly executed Lease agreement between Zamfara State Government and Bina Consult & Associates for leasing the -reference property for 20 years renewable for another 5 years.

That upon the foregoing facts, the defendant published or caused to be published the said words knowing very well that they were false and recklessly not caring whether they were true of false. having calculated that the benefit to him in terms of relevancy and acknowledgment from the general public would outweigh any compensation payable to me.

Author: Alao Abiodun

Source: https://thenationonlineng.net/whatsapp-comments-sokoto-kingmaker-sues-ex-governorship-candidate-shinkafi-for-n500m-libel/

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