The vice president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has threatened to sue American multinational technology company, Google, over a post made on its video-sharing platform, YouTube.
According to lawyers of the vice president, the technology giants should be responsible for posts made on its platform.
The issue arose as a result of a video report posted on YouTube on September 20. The video claimed that Mr. Osinbajo “used” federal agencies under his supervision as vice president “to stack funds” for 2023 general elections.
Upon coming across the video, the vice president has asked his lawyers to serve papers to the technology giants. Mr. Osinbajo is a Law professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Mr Yemi Osinbajo has threatened to sue Google over what he has termed a ‘false allegation’ made against him in the post.
Roots TV Nigeria published the video report.
However, many critics have accused the vice president of fighting the wrong enemy. They claim that Roots TV Nigeria and the political analyst, Mr. Katch Ononuju, who created and voiced the video should receive the lawsuit instead.
Mr. Ononuju in the Roots TV report said there is an “anticipation” that Mr. Osinbajo will run for president in 2023. The vice president’s lawyers said in the letter to Google that the report was untrue and defamatory.
“The publication is undoubtedly a barefaced attempt to unfairly discredit and expose our client to contempt and ridicule in the eyes of right-thinking members of the society,” the lawyers said.
In a letter delivered to the Google office in Lagos, Nigeria, the vice president through his lawyers has demanded that Google remove or suspend the publication immediately or be ready for legal action.
Interestingly, Nigeria media giants, Vanguard newspapers have issued an apology to Mr. Osinbajo. The excuse is over a news report alleging that Mr. Osinbajo mismanaged N90 billion.
Vanguard newspapers have earlier in its report accused the vice president of having ordered the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to release the funds to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 general elections.
The Vanguard story was on an interview with Timi Frank, a former deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, who had long fallen out with the leadership of the party.
Mr. Frank did not substantiate the allegation which has since been debunked by the FIRS.
What are your thoughts?
“It is not plausible nor does it make any sense that FIRS will commit its resources to a phantom campaign of N90 billion. FIRS does not fund political associations,” the agency’s spokesperson, Wahab Gbadamosi, said on Monday.
Vanguard said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday, “We have since discovered that the story lacks factual substance and we now retract it in its entirety.”
The paper apologized to the vice president, the APC, and the FIRS for “any inconvenience or embarrassment the publication has occasioned them”.
“We hold Professor Osinbajo, SAN in the highest esteem,” it said in the statement.
The report was yet to be pulled down from the Vanguard website on Wednesday night.
The vice president was yet to react to the apology at the time of filing this report.
He has said he is ready to use the law against those who spread falsehood about him. He particularly mentioned Mr. Frank and Mr. Ononuju is the tweets threatening the lawsuit.