General News of Friday, 3 May 2002
Source: Daily Graphic
Four prominent people from the Dagbon Traditional Area have filed a writ at an Accra High Court seeking to restrain three others from the area from publishing defamatory statements alleging their complicity in the Yendi massacre.
The four, Lt Gen. Joshua Hamidu, National Security Adviser, Alhaji Malik Al-Hassan Yakubu, Member of Parliament for Yendi and former Minister of the Interior, Major Abubakar Sulemana (rtd) of the National Security outfit and Alhaji Aminu Amadu, an opinion leader and road contractor, are also praying the court for aggravated damages.
The defendants are Dr Wayo Seini, Dr Yuhuza Gomda and Dr Adam Gamel Naser, all of the Andani Gate in the Yendi chieftaincy affairs. The four, in another writ, have sued the Kumbun Na Yiri, Iddrisu Abu, praying the court to restrain him or his assigns from publishing any words defamatory of them.
In a joint writ, Alhaji Yakubu and Alhaji Amadu are seeking to restrain the regent of Gulkpegu; Zimblim Abdulai, either by himself or his assigns from publishing any defamatory words of the plaintiffs.
According to the plaintiffs, the defendants published or caused to be published several allegations accusing them of complicity in the Yendi crises. They argued that some of the publications even linked them directly to the crisis when the defendants claim that they were not involved in the events that led to the murder of the Ya-Na and 40 others in March this year.
The plaintiffs expressed shock and surprise at the accusations leveled against them by the defendants and said they have initiated the action to clear their names. They said by the action of the defendants, they (plaintiffs) have been "greatly injured in their character and reputation, and have been brought into hatred, ridicule and contempt."
The statement of claim also said despite calls for extreme need for parties involved in the dispute to exercise restraint pending the setting up of a committee of inquiry to go into the matters leading to the death of the Ya-Na and other persons, the defendants have insisted and persisted in the peddling of false accusations against them.
They said the defendants are aware that their "actions threaten the lives of the plaintiffs but have continued with reckless abandon to peddle their jaundiced story." According to the statement of claim, unless restrained by the court, the defendants intend to continue to publish by the same or similar words of and concerning the plaintiffs.
In their writ against the Kumbun Na Yiri, the plaintiffs said the defendant issued a press release dated 29 March 2002 in which he falsely and maliciously spoke and published information concerning the plaintiffs to members of the press. It said the words "meant and were understood to mean that the plaintiffs are criminals who have long harboured a criminal agenda to cause mayhem and murder in Dagbon and have by reason of the positions they now hold, executed their criminal agenda with the assistance of their agents in the security service by murdering the Ya-Na and other innocent Dagombas and reducing to rubble the Ya-Na's palace and had thereby been guilty of the criminal offences of abetment of crime, conspiracy, murder and causing unlawful damage."
The statement of claim said, "by reason of the foregoing the plaintiffs have been greatly injured in their character and reputation and have been brought into public scandal, odium and contempt."
In their writ against the regent of Gulkpegu, Alhaji Yakubu and Alhaji Amadu alleged that the defendant held a press conference on 28 March 2002 in which he falsely and maliciously spoke of them. It said the words were calculated to disparage the plaintiffs in the way of the offices held by them or their profession.
The carried that the said words were printed on the letter head of the Gulkpe-Na's Palace and were distributed to various media organisations and republished by some leading newspapers as well as radio stations which have extensive circulation throughout Ghana and on the Internet.