By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Nigeria’s immediate past Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama is to appear before a judge in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas to answer to allegation of libel against him.
A former Nigerian Ambassador to Namibia, Lilian Onoh, is accusing the former Minister of using a New York-based online newspaper, to defame her.
Also joined in the case that has been assigned to Judge Jane Boyle for adjudication without a date is, Gabriel Aduda, who was a Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The Online Newspaper, in April, published an article saying Onoh was sacked by the Nigerian Government on account of misappropriation of N50 million, her counsel Steven Thornton says.
Thornton noted that the media outlet published Onoh’s photograph in the story to ensure the object of the story was not mistaken.
According to court documents, her counsel decried the online newspaper’s portrayal of his client as being corrupt having informed its global audience of diversion of funds meant for the running of Nigeria’s High Commission in Namibia.
The paper claimed Messrs Aduda and Onyeama were members of the investigative committee that indicted Onoh of fraud.
Onoh had in a series of memos to then Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, accused Onyeama of condoning corrupt practices at the foreign affairs ministry which he supervised.
As an Ambassador, Onoh had reported multiple incidents of embezzlement of millions of U.S. dollars and billions of naira of Nigerian government funds by various Nigerian officials.
She also reported the embezzlement of $2.8 million in Red Cross Funds meant for Haiti earthquake victims as well as the acts of visa racketeering against the USA and other countries in which her successor in Jamaica had engaged.
According to her counsel, Onoh did not get a fair hearing before her indictment by the Foreign Affairs ministry.