The heat generated by Chief Femi Fani-Kayode’s article, A Word for Those Who Call Me a Tribalist may take yet a long while to cool down. One of the Igbo women mentioned in the article, Mrs Bianca Ojukwu has demanded for an apology. The apology was contained in a letter written by her lawyers and addressed to Femi Fani-Kayode.
The letter, signed by Mike Ugwuanyi reads inter alia:
“We have been briefed and our services retained by AMBASSADOR BIANCA OJUKWU, Nigeria’s Ambassador to SPAIN to demand from you an unreserved apology and a retraction of false and malicious statement which you published on-line and also caused to be published in the Leadership Newspaper of August 16, 2013.
In the said article, “NEITHER A TRIBALIST NOR A HATER” you recklessly alleged as follows “I was not a tribalist when I had a long standing and intimate relationship with MISS BIANCA ONOH…”, a statement which you know is untrue and unfounded but only calculated to lower our client’s esteem and damage her national and international reputation.
Our client has never met you, does not know you in person and has never had any official or private relationship with you how much more “a long-standing and intimate relationship”. Our client is therefore outraged by your bizarre and scandalous allegation and the numerous ,ails and telephone calls she has received from friends, relations and admirers who are equally embarrassed and who seek to confirm the veracity or otherwise of your false and reckless publication.
Your apparently lame and half-hearted attempt, as published in the Leadership Newspaper of 17th August, 2013 to clarify your false and malicious allegation falls far short of a retraction and does not sufficiently address the damage to our client arising from the widespread dissemination of your false publication and is therefore unacceptable to our client.
In the circumstances, we demand, on the instruction of our client that you submit to her a clear and unqualified apology and publish or cause to be published a retraction of your libelous outburst in The Sun and THISDAY Newspapers in addition to having the retaction published on-line.
TAKE NOTICE that should you fail to tender the apology and publish retraction of your false and malicious publication, seven (7) days next after your receipt of this demand notice, our instructions are to seek appropriate redress in court. And that shall be without further recourse to you.
Be properly guided!”
Chief Fani-Kayode however responded through his media aide, Bisi Lawal on Friday. A statement signed by Lawal reads
“This morning Chief Femi Fani-Kayode woke up to find a letter that was published as an advertorial in Thisday Newspaper purportedly by Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu’s lawyer threatening to sue him for mentioning her in his article and claiming that she has never met him before. She also said that he was being malicious. The matter has of course been referred to Chief Fani-Kayode’s lawyers who will now take it up.
Ordinarily he would have not have said a word about this matter because he sympathises with her for whatever she may have been going through. However now that she has put it in the public realm Chief Fani-Kayode is compelled to formally respond. To the assertion that he never knew her and that they were never friends he says this is false and he asks why would he lie? The public evidence is to the contrary. Chief Fani-Kayode would not want to say anything to embarrass her because that would be ungentlemanly.
He sympathises with her delicate situation and once again he expresses his regrets about the fact that his statement about her was misconstrued. We shall just leave it at that”.