By CHIOMA IGBOKWE
Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt- General Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), has threatened to drag the Australian negotiator, Stephen Davis to court if he fails to retract his earlier statement alleging that he (Ihejirika) did sponsor the activities of Boko Haram. Recall that Davis in an interview with Australian ABC and Nigerian Arise TV stations, alleged that he was informed by Boko Haram commanders, whom he claimed to have interacted with, that there were prominent politicians, who have been sources of funding to Boko Haram. He was quoted to have said: “ There is a former Chief of Army Staff, who retired in January, rightly sacked by the President, who is another sponsor of the Boko Harm sect.” The threat to drag Davis to court was contained in advertorial published on pages 32 and 33 of yesterday’s Daily Sun, by his solicitors, Illegbune & Co, entitled, “Complainant of your fictitious, unfounded, malicious and gravely defamatory allegation of sponsorship of Boko Haram insurgency by LT. General Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika.” In the letter, he also demanded a well-worded apology should be published in local and international print and electronic media, including at least three Nigerian national newspapers, within seven working days that started counting yesterday. The letter also stated that a payment of $50 billion be made as compensation to Ihejirika, for the irreparable loss to his highly earned image and reputation. “ Be strongly warned that, if at the expiration of the above period, you fail, refuse or neglect to comply with the demands, we shall be left with no other option than to proceed with requisite legal action for libel against you, to redeem the sterling image and reputation of our client; wherein we shall be demanding for specific and exemplary damages, without further recourse to you. In that case , you will have yourself, and not Ihejirika to blame.” the letter reads in parts. Highlighting all Ihejirika’s achievements while in service, his solicitors insisted that the present government was mindful of Ihejirika’s successes and found him worthy to be honoured with the Commander of the Federal Republic(CFR). “It is on record that the Nigerian Army under our Ihejirika’s watch battled the deadly Boko Haram insurgents and other militant groups and security threats across the country and beyond, to a standstill preventing them from settling up camps in Kogi , Niger, Sokoto, Kano, Adamawa and some other states. Glaringly, General Ihejirika fought the Boko Haram terrorists and other militant groups with incisive military resolve and ensured that all military commands and units were issued clear and unambiguous instructions aimed at ridding the country of insurgency. “It is worthy to note that as Chief of Army Staff, like all other military chiefs before and after him, Ihejirika maintained visible spread of officers and soldiers across ethnic and religious divide in all command and units, along the length and breadth of the country. ‘We make bold to state without fear of contradiction, that Ihejirika had never overtly or covertly, identified with, aligned with, entertained and or shared any form of terrorist ideology, much more the thought of having anything to do with the sponsorship of Boko Haram terrorists or any criminal activity or group, and would never do so. Such a baseless allegation is, to say the least, a figment of the originators ‘s imagination,” the letter further reads.
Saturday, 25 October 2014