Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor, on Monday sued a Lagos-based newspaper, The Union, over a publication in which the newspaper allegedly defamed the governor over his asset declaration before the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The Union, which is said to be owned by some PDP big wigs under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, had on June 1 published a story alleging that the governor, prior to his inauguration, declared assets worth N90billion, including 40 mansions scattered across the country.
The suit which has not yet been assigned to a judge was filed at the High Court in Kaduna by the governor who personally went to the Court Registry to sign the Writ of Summons with his deputy, Bala Bantex, his lawyers and senior government officials.
Fielding questions from journalists at the court premises, El-Rufai who denied having assets worth N90 billion and did not disclose the total amount of assets which he declared said:
“I am here to sign papers to file a suit against a newspaper publication that claimed falsely that I declared N90bn as my assets and that I had forty mansions in Abuja.
“It has taken a bit of time for the lawyers to put together the papers but we are definitely suing them. Let them come and prove that I am as rich as they claimed.
“No one can be sworn into office as governor without declaring his assets. So, every governor in Nigeria; every elected officials must have declared his assets before the chief judge swears him in. It is not even a question requiring an answer.”
The governor said that if he had that kind of money he would rather use it to develop the state, stressing that the newspaper must come and prove in court that he is as rich as they claimed.
Details of the governor’s claims, prayers and reliefs sought were not available at the time of filing the report but will be captured in our subsequent update on the suit.