The Blueprint Newspaper has officially retracted its previous publication regarding the statement made by the Kogi State government, which falsely linked Barr. Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, the senatorial candidate of the Kogi Central Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the recent general election, to terrorism.
Additionally, the newspaper has issued an apology to Barr. Natasha for mistakenly publishing the defamatory statement without any substantiation, connecting the PDP senatorial candidate with terrorism.
In a publication dated May 21, 2023, the newspaper acknowledged that the statement made by the Kogi State government against Mrs. Akpoti-Uduaghan was untrue. The publication wholeheartedly extends an unreserved apology to her, her husband, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi Central, and expresses regret for any inconvenience or embarrassment caused by the initial article.
Furthermore, the newspaper asserts, “To rectify this matter, we are utilizing this medium to retract the story and dissociate Mrs. Akpoti-Uduaghan from any allegations of terrorism, as no security agency or court of law has implicated her in such activities.”
“While acknowledging our error in this matter, we also wish to clarify that until last week, we had not received any document from Mrs. Akpoti-Uduaghan requesting a retraction and an apology, as other newspapers that reported the same story had done.”
“Once again, we sincerely apologize for this error and strongly urge the public to disregard the previous story,” the newspaper stated.
Moreover, the newspaper expresses the desire for the lawsuit filed against them by the PDP senatorial candidate to be dropped, having acknowledged their mistake in publishing an article without evidence.
This development arises as the ₦5 billion lawsuit by the PDP senatorial candidate against the Kogi State government gains momentum.
Recall that during the lead-up to the 2023 Kogi Central senatorial election, the Kogi State government, in what was described as a desperate attempt to hinder the PDP senatorial candidate, accused her of terrorism and alleged her involvement in the Kuje prison break of July 5, 2022, and the Owo church massacre on June 5, 2022, in Ondo State.
Outraged by the deliberate attempt to tarnish her hard-earned reputation, Barr. Natasha, represented by her lawyer Femi Falana SAN, filed a lawsuit in the Abuja High Court on November 10, 2022. The lawsuit sought a court order declaring the publications as defamatory and libelous against her.
She also requested an order demanding that the defendants jointly and separately pay the sum of ₦5,000,000,000,000.00 (Five Billion Naira) as damages for the defamatory publications made against her by the defendants.
However, in their response to the motion, the Kogi State government denied ever issuing any defamatory statements connecting Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan to any terrorism allegations or calling for her arrest, despite previous contrary statements made by Kingsley Fanwo, the State Commissioner for Information, during a live broadcast of Politics Today on Channels TV, hosted by Seun Okinbaloye on October 31, 2022.