Mrs. Amuka Pemu ritual scandal: Pointblanknews.com demands retraction, apology from Vanguard Newspaper
Pointblanknews.com, an online news magazine has asked publishers of Vanguard Newspapers, a Nigerian daily to retract and apologize or face legal action, over a publication in its February 24, 2009 and March 24, 2009 edition where it accused journalists at the online medium of extortion.
According to solicitors to Pointblanknews.com, Ayodele Olugbenga & Co, Vanguard must retract its libelous publications of February24, and March 24, 2009, in which the international internet media organization was blackmailed and mischaracterized for exercising the professional duty and responsibility of publishing allegations of ritual murder involving Mrs.Oyindamola Amuka, wife of the publisher of Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Samuel Amuka.
Recall that Mrs. Amuka was alleged to have beheaded a 14year old boy for ritual purposes in a Lagos suburb. Following a tip off by an investigative journalist, Steve Ugwu, she was arrested. Photos published by Pointblanknews and other internet based media, showed Mrs. Amuka in handcuffs. In a dramatic twist, she was let off, after N4million bribe was allegedly given to some corrupt cops in Nigeria. Shortly after, in a curious twist, Mr. Ugwu was arrested, and accused by the police for setting up Mrs. Amuka for extortion. He was subsequently arraigned for extortion.
In a letter dated 28th April, 2009, reference number A0/ 002/ 92/ 700 addressed to the Managing Director of Vanguard Nigeria Limited, Publishers of Vanguard Newspaper, Pointblanknews.com owners, Messer, Jackson Ude, Oladimeji Abitogun and Churchill Umoren said the publication was malicious.”
According to Pointblanknews, Vanguard maliciously claimed that Mr. Ugwu is an extortion agent of Pointblanknews.
In addition, Vanguard claimed that poinhtblanknews.com not only serialized the false news but their agents made several monetary on Mr. Amuka.
“They resorted to making secrete contacts and overtures aimed at luring Mr. Amuka to part with money.”The Vanguard story alleged.
According to counsels to Pointblanknews “the publication has not only defamed our clients but has also without justification portrayed them as extortionists, blackmailers and common criminals. Your defamatory publications are calculated to lower our clients in the estimation of right thinking men, cause them to hatred and contempt and have conveyed an imputation injurious to them in their professional calling or business and in their private lives.”
Our Ref: AO/002/92/700
8th April 2009
The Managing Director,
Vanguard Nigeria Limited,
Re: LIBELOUS PUBLICATION AGAINST POINTBLANK NEWS
We are Solicitors to Pointblanknews.com and Messrs Jackson Ude, Oladimeji Abitogun and Churchilll Umoren, the Owners and Publishers of the online news magazine www.pointblanknews.com and we write this letter on their instructions. They shall hereinafter be referred to as “our clients”.
Our clients have drawn our attention to the publication contained in the Vanguard Newspaper Edition of 24th February 2009. The publication is captioned “How blackmailers staged ritual murder to dupe Publisher's wife”. In the said publication a picture of a man in handcuffs was captioned - “Steve Chinua-Ogwu fake journalist, blackmailer, agent of www.pointblanknews.com in handcuffs at the Court yesterday”. The publication also had a sub-heading as follows: “Blackmailer Steve Chinua Ogwu colludes with www.pointblanknews.com to smear publisher”.
In the body of the publication, you printed - “The characters at www.pointblanknews.com not only serialised the false news but their agents made several monetary demands on Mr. Amuka. They resorted to making secret contacts and overtures aimed at luring Mr. Amuka to part with money if he wanted the story killed …..”. The substance of your publication of 24th February 2009 was also repeated in your 24th March 2009 edition.
By these publications, you have not only defamed our clients but have also without justification portrayed them as extortionists, blackmailers and common criminals. Your defamatory publications are such that are calculated to lower our clients in the estimation of right thinking men, cause them to be shunned or avoided, expose them to hatred and contempt and have conveyed an imputation injurious to them in their professional calling or business and in their private lives.
You are hereby requested to issue a retraction of the defamatory publication within 7 days of the receipt of this letter. Such retraction is to be given same prominence as the defamatory publication. In addition, our clients request for the sum of =N=5 billion as damages for defamation of character and libel.
Take notice that unless the above is done within the specified 7 days, we shall have no choice but to perfect our instruction by instituting legal proceeding against your organisation for defamation of character and libel.
You are warned!
Ayodele, Olugbenga & Co.