Sunday, November 24, 2013
President Jonathan threatens SaharaReporters with libel, defamation
threatening to sue the online news agency for defamation for reporting
that his health problems while in London may have been caused by heavy
partying in celebration of his birthday last week.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati said yesterday that the
president will return to Nigeria today having been certified fit to
travel after receiving treatment for acute abdominal pains. The
doctors said no surgical intervention was required. Sahara Reporters
libel report below...
Nigeria leader, President Goodluck Jonathan, has threatened to take
SaharaReporters to court for reporting that his health problems in
London during the week may have resulted from heavy partying in
celebration of his 56th birthday.
In a statement by his spokesman, Reuben Abati, the president condemned
what he called the "utterly irresponsible, deplorable, highly
unprofessional and unethical antics of certain fringe elements
operating in the nebulous sphere of cyberspace who persist in seizing
every opportunity to unjustifiably malign and impugn the character and
integrity of the elected leader of their country."
He said it was regrettable that while the public had been duly
informed that Mr. Jonathan had received precautionary medical
attention for an unexpected indisposition in London in compliance with
the leader's standing instruction that Nigerians must never be kept in
the dark about the state of his health, SaharaReporters and other
reckless, lawless, impudent and unpatriotic internet-based ignored the
official script "with their entirely fictional, malicious,
hate-driven and scurrilous distortion of the facts."
Reiterating the denial of a party in London to celebrate President
Jonathan's birthday on Wednesday night, Abati said the president upon
arrival spent the day in the privacy of his hotel room and that it has
never been his custom to celebrate birthday anniversaries. In
particular, there was certainly no drinking spree, he claimed.
"As unregulated as they are, SaharaReporters and their ilk are not
beyond the bounds of legal action for libel and willful defamation of
the character and reputation of a President who has courageously
stepped forward to serve his country," the statement threatened.
"They know very well that they can never substantiate or prove the
constant false allegations and innuendoes they publish for the sole
purpose of negatively portraying President Jonathan and his
"Their incessant claim of a bibulous President is pure fiction and
blackmail, and the product of malicious imagination. We warn that our
forbearance of their disrespectful caricaturing of the President is
Despite Mr. Jonathan's threats and deployment of scare tactics,
SaharaReporters stands by its account of the events in London in the
past few days.
While we have the attention of the president and the hawks in the
presidency, we take this opportunity to draw their attention to the
scandalous quality of Nigerian governance that SaharaReporters and
most of the Nigerian media have been reporting for many years, of
which his government forms only a part.
As the 2015 election approaches and Mr. Jonathan tries to invite the
sympathy of Nigerians in his favor, we challenge him to prove—
including in a court of law—that these reports have been "entirely
fictional, malicious, hate-driven and scurrilous distortion of the