Former Vice President , Atiku Abubakar , on Tuesday , appeared at the registry of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, Abuja , to sign and file his deposition in support of the N2 . 5 bn libel suit which he instituted against President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s Special Assistant on Social Media , Lauretta Onochie , earlier in June this year .
Pictures of the Peoples Democratic Party ’ s candidate in the last presidential election with his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome ( SAN ) , and others in the legal team were sent to journalists on Tuesday .
In one of the pictures, Atiku was seen seated while holding a pen above a white paper with Ozekhome bent over the table beside him .
In the caption accompanying the pictures, Ozekhome stated , “ Chief Mike Ozekhome , SAN , OFR , today , at the Central Registry of the FCT, High Court , Maitama , Abuja, with his client , His Excellency , Alhaji Atiku Abubakar , Waziri Adamawa .
“ The former Vice President was physically at the Registry to sign his witness deposition (on oath ) before the Commissioner for Oaths , on the case he instituted against Lauretta Onochie .
“ The Waziri is claiming amongst others, the sum of N2 . 5 bn only , from the Presidential Assistant on Social Media , as general , aggravated , punitive and exemplary damages against her .
“ Atiku is claiming this sum from her for her defamatory story published on her twitter handle and Facebook page , in which she stated that Atiku was on the UAE watch list, as a wanted man , asking, ‘ shopping for terrorists ?”
Atiku had, on June 26 , 2019 , instituted the suit against Onochie for her alleged libelous tweet against him via her twitter handle on May 7 , 2019 .
The tweet allegedly suggested that Atiku was on the watch list of security operatives in the United Arab Emirates and had travelled to shop for terrorists in the Middle East .
He prayed the court in the suit marked CV / 2287 /19 , to order Onochie to pay him the N 2 . 5 bn as “ general , aggravated , punitive and exemplary damages over the untold embarrassment , derision , public ridicule, odium, obloquy , marital disharmony , mental agony and psychological trauma which the defendant ’ s publications have caused the claimant. ”
Denying the allegations in the said tweet, Atiku said it was “politically orchestrated” “ solely to cause maximum damage” to his “ high reputation” while challenging “ the purported victory ” of Onochie’ s boss , President Buhari in the last presidential election at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal .
The presidential candidate of the PDP in the February 23 , 2019 poll had, through a May 14 , 2019 letter signed by Ozekhome , demanded from Onochie an apology , a retraction of the said post and a payment of N500 m compensation to him “ to assuage” the damage allegedly done to him by her social media post.
He also threatened to sue her should she fail to accede to the demand “ within 48 hours ”.
Justifying his suit , Atiku stated in his statement of claim accompanying his suit , that rather than show “ remorse by retracting her earlier publication” , she further , on May 20 , made “ another derogatory publication and also published same online in the social and other print media ” against his person. ”