Bi Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) has threatened to commence legal proceeding against the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Yakubu Dati for alleged libellous statements he made against the company in an interview on Channels Television on June 26, 2013.
This was contained in a letter addressed to Dati by the Solicitors of BASL, Babalakin & Co., which was made available to newsmen by the legal department of FAAN.
The letter with the title, “Libellous Statements Made Against Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited on Channels TV on 26th June 2013” and dated July 24, 2013, said that BASL has been drawn to certain false, derogatory and defamatory statements and allegations made by Dati on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 in the course of 30 minutes interview he granted to Channels TV.
The two-page letter accused the FAAN spokesman of making “several false and maliciously deprecating statements of and concerning our client, and in the way of its business and reputation as follows, “I’m talking about a company whose stock in trade is manipulating court processes.”
Dati was also alleged to have said during the interview,“(BASL) Going round the back to secure all kinds of court judgements which they misinterpret even to the public.”
Other statements the letter attributed to Dati include, “It is because they (BASL) have decided to bend the rules to short change the Nigerian people;’… “They were cooking papers up, every time you call them, they bring old judgments of (three) or 4 (four) years ago that has been taken over by events;’… he was also alleged to have said, “People who have manipulated the judiciary process over the years to their advantage and to the detriment of the aviation industry,’” among other allegations.
The letter therefore said to Dati, “These statements/allegations made by you, with the reckless disregard as to their meaning and effect, are not only completely untrue but constitute a grave libel upon our client. By these words, our client’s business reputation has been seriously injured and our client brought into public scandal, odium and contempt.”
The letter said that the Solicitors “have our client’s instruction to demand that within 7 (seven) days of your receipt of this letter,” to render public apology to BASL on Channels TV in respect of the defamatory statements.
The letter also asked Dati to write an undertaken and assurance that he would not repeat the publication of such or similar allegation concerning BASL in future.
The letter urged the FAAN spokesman to pay to BASL N500 million as damages for the injury caused by Dati’s defamatory statements.
“In the event that you fail to render the said apology and fulfil our client’s requests, we shall be left with no option than to commence legal action against you for the said defamatory statements.”
FAAN and BASL have been fighting over the details of the concession agreements in the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement the later has with FAAN and the hotel and the conference facility BASL is building at the domestic area of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, which FAAN claimed to have terminated the contract, but BASL insisted it was fully in charge of those projects as the court had ordered FAAN to stay execution on the leasing contract.
Source: Citizens Platform
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