El-Rufai Personally Testifies in Court Against Union Newspaper Publishers
Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai on Wednesday appeared in person at the Kaduna State High Court to testify in a libel suit filed against the publishers of Union Newspaper for claiming he failed to declare assets worth N90 billion.
The Union newspaper had drawn the ire of the governor in 2015 when it published a report stating that El-Rufai failed to fully declare his net worth of about N90bn including 40 mansions scattered across the country.
The governor demanded a retraction and an apology failing which he would sue the publishers for libel. Neither was done and the governor subsequently sued the newspaper and the reporter who wrote the story.
El-Rufai was accompanied to the court premises on Wednesday by the Kaduna state deputy governor, Mr Barnabas Bantex and other state government officials.
When the case was called, the governor proceeded into the witness box and was led in evidence by his counsel, Mr A U Mustapha. El-Rufai informed all present that he was in court to seek justice over the attempt by the publishers of The Union newspaper to scandalise him.
During cross-examination by counsel to the defence, el-Rufai affirmed that he declared his assets as governor-elect, as mandated by the constitution, prior to taking the oath of office as Governor of Kaduna State.
In defending the source of his wealth, the governor claimed to have achieved great success as a chartered quantity surveyor before joining politics.
The Kaduna state governor is known for never shying away from controversy and many can still recall a recent media battle with the National Assembly over the lack of transparency around the national assembly’s budget.
Earlier in the year, El-Rufai ordered the prosecution of former Chocolate City music label boss, Audu Maikori for allegedly spreading false information about the killings in Southern Kaduna.
The governor may therefore not be expected to back down from the libel suit against The Union newspaper anytime soon. Meanwhile, the suit according to The Vanguard has been adjourned to June 15 for the defence to open its case.
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