In a letter written by Mr G.A.I. Mowah, solicitors to Senator Nwaoboshi, and addressed to Mr Odili, the NDDC director was asked to retract his statement and tender a public apology over the allegations which he allegedly made against Nwaoboshi.
While expressing his position that the allegations are malicious, injurious and defamatory, Senator Nwaoboshi also demanded that N1bn be paid as damages for defaming his character, threatening to institute legal action if the demands are not met within a reasonable period of time.
Mr Odili had in a press statement made some allegations against Nwaoboshi, the Senator representing Delta North, a development which bureaucrats at the NDDC, believe amounted to “an overstep of the former’s bounds as a civil servant at the Commission. ”
A senior director at the NDDC explained: ” He ought not to dabble into political issues because he(Odili) is a civil servant. The Service rules are very clear as a civil servant; you don’t go ahead to take side in political feud among political leaders. That is outside the purview of a director’s mandate at the NDDC, and it is most unfortunate.
” Civil service rules frown very seriously at that because it is an infraction to dabble into political issues. Leave political comments or statements to the press secretaries of the politicians to handle. MDs come and go but the civil service which is the engine room of public service remain to guide the system… It was an error on the director’s part. But I think it can be corrected by amicable peace settlements.”
Some senior directors at the NDDC further maintained that as a civil servant, Mr Odili’s duty ought to be strictly limited to speaking for the NDDC but that “he may have gone overboard by speaking for feuding politicians which is not part of his schedule of duty, thereby being caught in a legal crossfire.”
It would be recalled that while defending Chief Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Odil had alleged that Senator Nwaoboshi had questions to answer over some contracts at the NDDC.
Odili claimed that Nwaoboshi allegedly used companies and Mr Agbamuche Nelson as purported fronts to secure for himself N3.6 billion contract in September 2016.
Reacting to the allegations, Senator Nwaoboshi in a letter dated June 9, 2020 written by a team of lawyers, G.A.I. MOWAH & CO acting on his behalf, is demanding a public apology and the sum of N1bn as damages from Odili for making false, wicked and malicious defamatory statements against the Senator.
In the letter entitled” Publication of false, wicked and malicious defamatory matters against Chief (Senator) Peter Onyeluka Nwaoboshi: Demand for Retraction, public Apology and 1bn Damages”, Mr G.A.I Mowah, solicitors to Senator Nwaoboshi said the content of Odili’s press statement are malicious and amount to calculated attempts to lower the esteemed standing of his client before right-thinking members of the public.
He wrote: ” The press statement aforementioned, authored by you (Odili) and which contains these wicked and malicious imputations injurious to the character and reputation of my client, is in circulation in different news media in Nigeria and beyond.”
According to the Solicitors, Odili should immediately commence or undertake the following:
One, a retraction of the malicious press statement. Two, a publication of the said retraction in all the electronic and print media and social media platforms where the publication was circulated.
Three, a publication of a public apology in all electronic and print media and social media platforms where the publication was circulated. Four, payment of the sum of N1Billion as damages for the harm done to my client’s reputation by the Press statement.
Recall that Senator Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and and Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, the Chairman Senate Committee on Niger Delta and the NDDC have been having verbal altercation over developments at the NDDC .