Lawyer Arrested Over Alleged Defamation of Ogun SSG

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Security operatives have arrested a legal practitioner, Barrister Femi Oniyide, in connection with the publication of a malicious story against the Secretary to the Ogun State Government (SSG), Mr Tokunbo Talabi.

Oniyide was arrested on Friday at Alagbado, Ogun State, based on a petition written against him by solicitors to the SSG, alleging “Criminal Threat To Life, Malicious Falsehood, Criminal Defamation And Misuse Of Police Connection.”

Security operatives have been on his trail for a while but he had been evading arrest.

He is presently in the custody of the Force CID Alagbon, Lagos.

The publisher of Metro Online, an online platform Femi Davies, who was alleged to be responsible for syndicating the story had earlier been picked up and was released on administrative bail after spending 10 days in the gulag of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Another accomplice, Mr Tolani Oluwaseun, fingered as the source of the “fake story” has also been declared wanted, while officials of a commercial bank were invited to explain the circumstances surrounding the release and manipulation of the statement of account of Superflux, a company where the SSG had worked before.

Oniyide, in the petition dated July 26, addressed to the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Alagbon, Lagos State was accused of holding a press conference where he accused Mr. Talabi of money laundering and printing of ballot papers.

The petition, signed by Adepeju Jaiyeoba, reads: “We are solicitors to Mr. Tokunbo Talabi (hereinafter referred to as ‘Our Client’) on whose behalf we write this urgent petition.

“Our Client is the current Secretary to the Ogun State Government, a position he has held since June 2019 and is in that regard, a high-ranking member of the Ogun State Executive Government, a member of the State Executive Council, and the most senior political appointee of the State Executive Government.

“Prior to his appointment into Government, our Client was the Managing Director of Superflux Limited, thriving manufacturing company in Lagos State.

“On Monday, July 24, 2023, our Client’s attention was drawn to a publication titled: “Legal Practitioner Accuses Ogun SSG of Money Laundering, Ballot Paper
Printing’.

“The said publication was an explicit report originating from a world press conference held by a certain Mr. Femi Oniyide purporting to be a legal practitioner. The said Mr. Femi Oniyide, at a world press conference convened at Abeokuta based on different stories he read online’ accused our Client of using his former company, Superflux International Limited to syphon monies from the Ogun State Government, engaging in money laundering activities, stealing and diverting COVID-19 Funds, perpetrating illegal activities such as the printing of ballot papers for use in the 2023 general elections and manipulating the printing output to influence the elections in favour of the Ogun State Governor. (A copy of the offensive and blatantly false allegation as reported by
an online platform, Oxygist.

“On the basis of the said ‘stories’ he read online, the said Mr. Femi Oniyide, went further in his delusional accusation to bewilderingly present a petition invoking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to investigate our Client for the purported offences.

“A careful study of the payment information provided by Mr. Oniyide as forming the bases of his petition will reveal two allegations that centers on the printing ballot papers in respect of the 2023 election which allegedly skewed victory in favour of the governor of Ogun State, Mr. Dapo Abiodun as well as allegations of diverting COVID19 Funds through Superflux International Limited.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our Client finds this deliberate falsehood peddled without a shred of evidence by Mr. Femi Oniyide perplexing and extremely disturbing for a lawyer of his status and post-call experience.

“Our Client resigned his appointment as a director of Superflux International Limited by a letter dated June 11, 2019. His resignation was subsequently accepted by the board on the 15th of June 2019 and same was filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission. (A copy of the CAC document showing the current directors of Superflux International Limited is hereby attached and marked Document 2.)

“On the basis of the foregoing, our Client is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations of Superflux Limited, including the printing, distribution, use, and allocation of ballot papers, a duty
which is within the exclusive prevail and discretion of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In other
words, it is impossible for any private company – whether a contractor of INEC or not – to determine what ballot papers will be allocated to any constituency during elections, or to influence
the number, quantity, or variety of ballot papers that will be released and used during elections – only INEC can do that.

“Further, Mr. Femi Oniyide claims that these so-called facts were
revealed during the sitting of the Governorship Election Petition
Tribunal. That is false in its entirety. The Petition that is pending before that Tribunal does not include any allegation against Superflux Limited and all the witnesses who have been presented in the proceedings – 84 as of Friday July 21, 2023 – never made any allegations against Superflux Limited. In fact, none of them alleged manipulation of ballot papers.

“It is the position of our Client that the press conference and subsequent dissemination of Mr. Femi Oniyide’s spurious petition through various news website cannot be the standard and expectation of our criminal justice system. We state further that the culprit despite his inability to establish or present any documentary evidence against our Client and in flagrant abuse of the criminal justice system have in his malicious libelous activities reported his unfounded allegations to various police formations and investigative agencies.

“Based on all the above, we hereby urge you to use your good office to investigate our complaint as this case was reported against the culprit for investigation of the allegations and for possible prosecution to serve as deterrent to others. We thank you for your anticipated swift response and action.”

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