By Timileyin Omilana
Nigerian newspaper BusinessDay has apologised to Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for publishing a libelous article about him.
Businessday on Sunday published a story titled “Ex APC spokesman asks Buhari to probe Osinbajo, AuGF over alleged N10bn withdrawal from TSA.” The article was allegedly written based on a statement by a former deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank.
The news outlet in its apology published on its website on Thursday said the “story failed to meet the editorial standards of BusinessDay Newspaper, as we have since discovered that the story was baseless, unfounded and unsupported by any factual substance.”
“We have already disabled the links to the story and hereby retract it completely and unreservedly.”
“BusinessDay apologises to His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his family, friends, colleagues and well-wishers for the unwarranted inconvenience and embarrassment the publication has occasioned,” the post said.
The apology and retraction came hours after Osinbajo demanded a written undertaking from the newspaper not to publish any similar or further libellous content against him.
Osinbajo, through his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), said the article, published online and in print, made and/or repeated several defamatory statements about him. Osinbajo threatened to sue the paper unless his demands were met within seven days.
Adegboruwa said the newspaper falsely portrayed Osinbajo “as a very corrupt public officer who regularly, furtively and illegally steals billions of naira from the public treasury.
“There was never at any time, any illegal withdrawal of N10 billion, or any amount at all, from the TSA in which he (our client) was involved,” Osinbajo’s lawyer said.
“He (Osinbajo) is not corrupt and he does not engage in illegal conduct.”
“By so doing, it has wrongly exposed our client to utter contempt and ridicule in the estimation of right-thinking members of the society. Your unfounded and malicious publication also violates sections 391 to 395 of the Penal Code Act as well as section 24 of the Cybercrimes Act,” he said.