JOURNALIST MAKES N50M CLAIM FROM EX-SENATE PRESIDENT OVER BOOK ON TENURE

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JOURNALIST MAKES N50M DEMAND FROM EX-SENATE PRESIDENT OVER BOOK ON TENURE IN OFFICE

A journalist, Cyriacus Njoku, is asking a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court to order a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, to pay him the sum of N50 million as reward for authoring a book on his tenure in office.

In the suit numbered CV/2269/2023, Njoku, through his lawyer, Julius Mbilitem, he alleged that the former Senate President did not reward him for his efforts in writing the book titled, ‘The Peoples Lawmaker’, despite an agreement to that effect.

He also claimed that, rather than reward him as promised, Nnamani used his work as an inspiration to author another book titled, ‘Standing Strong’, a personal account of his stewardship as Senate President.

In his statement of claim, Njoku averred that in 2015, he approached Nnamani with a proposal to write a book about his stewardship as Senate President between April 2005 and May 2007.

He added that after “serious and detailed discussions, interrogations and interviews”, Nnamani permitted him to write and produce the manuscript of the book, while assuring him that “his reward will be from the proceeds of the public presentation/launch”.

Continuing, Njoku noted that following the production of the draft of the book, the ex-Senate President directed him to meet one of his aides, Dr Jaa’nna Nwafor Orizu, who edited the manuscript.

“The defendant (Nnamani) provided the pictures that featured in the book as well as directed the plaintiff (Njoku) to the printers/publishers, Timex Enterprises, of 2A Menkiti Lane, Ogui Enugu, Enugu State.

“Moreover, the defendant wrote the ‘Forward’ to the book, recommending it for use in political discourses, scholarship and general readership.

“The defendant paid for 1000 printed copies. The cover pages were in two versions, one bearing the defendant’s picture in legislative attire of Senate President, while the other his picture in native attire. All the 1000 copies were deposited at his house in Enugu in the year 2018. (Copies of the cheques of N250,000 each the defendant issued to the printer/publisher are herein pleaded).

“When the plaintiff noticed that all the copies have been deposited at the defendant’s residence, he asked the defendant about his schedule for the public presentation/launch of the book. The defendant reassured the plaintiff of financial reward after presenting the book, together with the one he was writing, to the public. The defendant said that he doesn’t want to do book launch twice,” parts of Njoku’s statement of claim read.

Njoku noted that, from time to time, he reminded Nnamani of his promise to launch the book and reward him.

However, according to Njoku, he was not invited when the ex-Senate President launched the book, ‘The Peoples Lawmaker’, and the one he (Nnamani) authored by himself, ‘Standing Strong’, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on the 21st of October, 2021.

He alleged that he later found out that Nnamani made “copious references” to his book, ‘The Peoples Lawmaker’, in ‘Standing Strong’.

According to him, at this point, he realized that the ex-Senate President used his work as “an inspiration and a springboard to write ‘Standing Strong’ and that his promise to pay him after presentation to the public was a ruse”.

He further informed the court that, after making several personal demands on Nnamani to reward him for his work, to no avail, he asked his lawyer, Mbilitem, to write a letter, dated 11th November 2022, to the ex-Senate President, demanding N50 million compensation.

Njoku said Nnamani did not respond to the letter, and has refused to pay him any money for his work.

He therefore prayed the court to order the ex-Senate President to pay him the sum of N50 million as reward for his intellectual work. He is equally asking the court to order Nnamani to pay him the cost of prosecuting the case.

The court was also asked to order the ex-Senate President to pay a 10 per cent interest on any judgment sum, till date of payment.

However, the ex-Senate President has disputed Njoku’s claims.

In a statement of defence filed by his lawyers, Nnamani averred that he never authorized Njoku to write any book.

“At no time or date did the plaintiff (Njoku) ever approach the defendant (Nnamani) physically with any proposal to write a book dealing with the defendant’s tenure in office as the former Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The said proposal, if any, was unto himself (Njoku); the defendant never knew of any proposal as claimed by the plaintiff. The defendant never at any time had any discussion, let alone being detailed. The plaintiff never at any time interrogated nor interviewed the defendant in respect of any write-up and (the defendant) never requested the plaintiff to write and produce any manuscript of a book.”

Further disputing Njoku’s claim that he (Nnamani) promised him financial reward for writing the book, the ex-Senate President said, “The defendant having not discussed with the plaintiff of any book, the issue of any reward of proceeds of the public presentation/launch never arose.”

Stressing that he is not liable to Njoku regarding the payment of N50 million, as demanded by the plaintiff, Nnamani asked the court to dismiss the suit for being frivolous, vexatious and unfounded.Hearing in the matter has been adjourned to 7th March 2024.

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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