A member of the Buhari Media Support Group, Lauretta Onochie, has sued a US-based blogger, Emeka Ugwuoye, over a libellous publication on Facebook that she runs an international trafficking ring for N1 billion. Onochie said she has suffered damage to her reputation, insisting that if the blogger is not restrained, he would continue to tarnish her image. Ugwuonye has been facing criminal charges from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over alleged theft.
Onochie in the suit filed by her counsel, Festus Keyamo, at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and obtained by journalists on Sunday in Abuja, also demanded a retraction and an unreserved apology from the defendant for the words he had used with her photograph. According to the court papers, no fewer than 163 persons have ‘Liked’ the post, while over 80 people have ‘Shared’ it with 198 ‘Comments.”
Ugwuoye had in the post entitled: “A major break in tracking of the Dubai Madams and their agents – A key Madam revealed as a socialite with apparent connections to (sic) Nigerian politicians”, published on January 21 2016, in his Due Process Advocates Facebook page, alleged that Onochie, using names like Aunty Lolly, Madam or Aunty, operates an international girls trafficking ring across United Arab Emirates (UAE), Italy and Greece for prostitution.
He also alleged that Onochie was fond of recruiting young girls, “promising them good life in Dubai and elsewhere, swearing their parents to shrines, selling them off for $5,000 to $15,000, making nude videos of them and using thugs to intimidate their parents back here in Nigeria”, and making sure that immigration officials were bribed at the airport to let the girls through despite being underage.
While describing the allegations as false and untrue, she added that the defendant did not conduct any investigation before publishing them.
Recall that two years ago, a U.S. District Court had ordered Ugwuonye to immediately refund Nigeria’s $1.55 million, an amount he was accused of having stolen during a real estate transaction with the Nigerian Embassy in Washington. In a default judgment delivered after the embattled lawyer failed to appear for his deposition as ordered by the court, Judge Barbara J. Rothstein dismissed claims by Ugwuonye that he converted the controversial amount to personal use because the Nigerian government owed him for other services he rendered.
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