The Blueprint Newspaper has retracted its publication of Kogi State government’s statement which linked the senatorial candidate of Kogi Central Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election, Barr. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan to terrorism.
The Newspaper also apologized to Barr. Natasha for erroneously publishing the defamatory statement which linked the PDP senatorial candidate to terrorism without any proof.
In a publication by the newspaper on May 21, 2023, the paper said they have since discovered that the said statement against Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan by Kogi State government was not true and therefore sincerely tender an unreserved apology to her, her husband, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi Central, and regret whatever inconvenience or embarrassment the publication must have caused them.
The paper further added that,
“to this end, we are also using this medium to retract the story and dissociate Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan from any link whatsoever to terrorism, as no security agency or a court of law indicted her to that effect.
“Why admitting our error in this regard, we also wish to state that until last week, the newspaper did not receive any document from Mrs Akpoti-Uduaghan asking us to retract and also apologise, as done by other newspapers which reported same story.
“Again, we respectfully apologise for this error and strongly urge the public to disregard the earlier story”, the paper said.
The paper also wants the suit against them by the PDP senatorial candidate to be dropped after admitting their error in what they termed as “erroneous publication without proof”.
This is coming coming when the five billion naira suit by the PDP senatorial candidate against Kogi State government heats up.
Recall that in the build up to the 2023 Kogi Central senatorial election, the Kogi State government in what was described as a desperate attempt to stop the PDP senatorial candidate linked her to terrorism and alleged that she had connection with the Kuje prison break of July 5, 2022 and Owo church massacre on 5 June, 2022, in Ondo State.
Irked by the deliberate attempt to drag her hard-earned reputation in the mud, Barr. Natasha, through her lawyer Femi Falana SAN, filed a lawsuit in Abuja High Court dated 10th November, 2022 and sought the order of the court to declare that the publications are libelous and defamatory against her.
She sought an order against the defendants jointly and separately to pay the sum of N5,000, 000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira) as damages for the libelous publication by the defendants against the claimant in their various publications.
However, in its reply to the motion, the Kogi State government denied ever issuing any defamatory statement linking Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan to any terror suspect or calling for her arrest even though Kingsley Fanwo, the State Commissioner for Information acted in the contrary on Channels TV live broadcast of Politics Today anchored by Seun Okinbaloye on 31st October, 2022.