YOU MUST APOLOGIZE TO JACQUELINE OKWUEZE FOR LIBELOUS STATEMENT, FALANA WRITES SOLUDO

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YOU MUST APOLOGIZE TO JACQUELINE OKWUEZE FOR LIBELOUS STATEMENT, FALANA WRITES SOLUDO

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has given the Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led Anambra State government 48 hours to publish an apology and retraction in his X (formerly Twitter) account for the libelous statement against his client Jacqueline Okwueze.

Falana in the letter addressed to the Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, through the Attorney General of the State, threatened to sue the government after 48 hours of receiving the letter if it refused to accede to the demand for the retraction of the libelous publication, public apology and damages of $50 million.

In the letter dated Feb. 2, 2024, titled: “Re: Anambra Government Regrets Mistaken Identity In Tanya Okpala Story,” Falana said that a press statement credited to governor’s spokesman, Mr Christian Aburime has not removed the stigma of infamy attracted by the libellous publication.

The letter partly read: “Our client (Jacqueline Okwueze) was a national junior tennis champion in Nigeria when she was younger and represented Nigeria in many tournaments in the 1990s. She is a successful attorney who has practised law in the state of Texas and is a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit since 2012. She is a senior associate and head of the immigration department at the law firm of Sullo & Sullo Attorneys.

“Our client is happily married and lives with her family in Houston. She visits her parents who live in Ibadan, Oyo State. Even though she has not visited Nigeria since 2017, the Anambra State Governor, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo CFR has announced the successful rescue of Ms. Jacqueline Okwueze, a former tennis champion and legal attorney who was recently captured in a distressing viral video on the streets.

“The Governor took to his official social media handles to disclose the positive outcome, revealing that Ms. Okwueze is now in the custody of the Anambra State Government.

“Governor Soludo emphasised his commitment to ensuring Ms. Okwueze’s well-being by promptly ordering her immediate rehabilitation and reintegration with her family. He stated,

“Jacqueline Okwueze (Fmr Tennis champion) is now in the custody of the Anambra State Government. She was with the Commissioner for Women Affairs when my wife spoke with her on the phone.”

The legal luminary stated that by the said publication, his client was portrayed to the whole world as a drug addict who is in the custody of the Anambra State Government where she is undergoing psychiatric treatment.

“Having discovered that the publication was without any basis whatsoever, the Press Secretary to the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Christian Aburime stated that the Anambra State government “has expressed regret and apology for the error of initially referring to the recently rescued Tanya Okpala as Jacqueline Okwueze.”

“If the Anamba State Government and the media had done any fact checks or due negligence research before exposing our client to ridicule of unimaginable proportion.

“However, since the press statement credited to Mr. Christian Aburime has not removed the stigma of infamy attracted by the libellous publication, our client demands that the retraction and apology tendered by the Anambra State Government be published by Governor Chukwuma Soludo in his X (formerly known as twitter) handle.”He, however, warned that “if Governor Soludo fails to accede to our request within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, we shall not hesitate to initiate legal proceedings against the Anambra State Government for the retraction of the libelous publication, public apology and damages of $50 million.”

About Dons Eze

DONS EZE, PhD, Political Philosopher and Journalist of over four decades standing, worked in several newspaper houses across the country, and rose to the positions of Editor and General Manager. A UNESCO Fellow in Journalism, Dr. Dons Eze, a prolific writer and author of many books, attended several courses on Journalism and Communication in both Nigeria and overseas, including a Postgraduate Course on Journalism at Warsaw, Poland; Strategic Communication and Practical Communication Approach at RIPA International, London, the United Kingdom, among others.

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