Fake News: Minister Petitions IG, Demands Investigation Of Abuja-based Journalist For Criminal Defamation 

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police to investigate one Sylvanus Ofekun for criminal defamation and incitement capable of threatening national security.
The petition, on behalf of the Minister by Festus Keyamo Chambers and submitted to the Inspector General of Police on February 16 2021, stated that Ofekun who goes by the moniker “Sleeky Sly” on social media, criminally alleged that the Minister was daily benefitting from Lagos Concession Company (LCC), operator of the Lekki Toll Gate, which has been at the center of the #EndSARS protests.
The document reads, “Our Client was therefore surprised when one  Mr Sylvanus Ofokun also known as Sleeky Sly published unfounded and baseless allegations of corruption against our client through direct reference and innuendo.
Mr Sylvanus Ofekun is a sports journalist who currently plies his trade with Kiss FM Radio Station, Abuja. The summary of the allegations were to the effect that our client was receiving constant revenues from the Lagos Concession Company (LCC) who are the managers of the Lekki Tollgate.
“Our client was therefore alleged to have deployed governmental resources to reopen the Tollgate for personal profit. According to the publication, evidence of our client’s receipt of funds from LCC could be found in bank statements which were attached. A cursory look at the said bank statements will show that the transactions contained therein are between LCC and Loatsad Media and our client’s name did not appear in any of the transactions.
“The facts as can be gleaned from the public records available at the relevant government agencies that our client has since 2017 relinquished all interests he had at Loatsad Promomedia Limited (as it was then known as) and stepped down from its Board of Directors. It is therefore clear that not only were the allegations false, they were published with malice aforethought with the intent to disparage our client.
“The allegations made by Mr Sylvanus Ofekun in their natural and ordinary significance meant or were understood to mean. (I) That our client is a violator of Nigeria’s laws who engages in other businesses while occupying public office contrary to the code of conduct for public officers. (II) That our client is a corrupt leader who deploys state resources for personal benefits (III)That our client is of low morals and pretends to support the cause of the youths while truly satisfying his private desires.
“The above allegations are all patently false and were published against our client by the said Mr Sylvanus Ofekun ostensibly to discredit our client’s great work among the youths. These false and invidious allegations were made on the social media platforms of Mr Sylvanus Ofekun for the purpose of propagating these defamatory materials to the youth who draw their information from social media thereby exposing our client to hatred. contempt and ridicule,” the petition said.
It further urged the Inspector General of Police to investigate the publication by Ofekun, which is capable of threatening national interest by inciting the youth to more violence, noting that “Expectedly other media houses and blogs including The Daily Gazette have latched on to this blatantly false story and have propagated these allegations to the populace.
“The consequence of the publications is that young men and women, who have hitherto considered our client as their representative and mouthpiece, now view our client with suspicion and distrust. The larger objective of the actions of Mr Sylvanus Ofekun is to place our client at a position where he can no longer perform his mediatory roles with respect to the #EndSars Protests thereby exarcebating an already fragile situation. The implication of this is that Mr Sylvanus Ofekun’s actions not only affect our client’s reputation but is capable of endangering national security and causing a breach of the peace.
“Section 373 of the Criminal Code prohibits the publication of any material likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule or likely to damage any person in his profession or trade by injury to his reputation. Undoubtedly, these publications were targeted at injuring the reputation of our Client and we have his instructions to respectfully invite you to investigate the subject matter of this petition with the aim of prosecuting anyone found culpable.
Our client is concerned that if actions such as that of Mr
Sylvanus Ofekun go unchecked, it could embolden like-minded individuals to carry out campaigns of calumny against outstanding members of society. These individuals, who may not exercise our client’s restraint, could resort to self-help and society could degenerate to anarchy,” it concluded.

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