The presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mr. Dumebi Kachikwu, has refuted allegations of tax evasion and fraud levelled against him, describing them as “untrue, baseless and politically motivated.”
Kachikwu, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, said he is in the process of instituting legal action against the perpetrators for defamation and libel.
This came as the Department of State Services (DSS) warned that the spread of fake news and hate speeches on social media poses the biggest threat to the 2023 general elections.
Responding to questions from journalists at a briefing in Abuja, DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, noted that sharing of fake news, alongside incorrect and inflammatory commentary, has led to violence in parts of the country.
He said: “We are into elections and political programmes have started. What the media and every stakeholder must do is ensure that the game is played according to rules. Nigerians must avoid any act that promotes hate and disintegration, and say no to separatist movements, terrorism, fake news, hate speech, religious bigotry and any act that tends to divide us as a nation.
“Social media and fake news are the biggest threats to human existence, not only to elections. Fake news is a major cause of violence in our society now. As journalists, you should always fact-check information before publishing.
“I want to assure that the DSS won’t abdicate its responsibilities and would continue to do the right thing, no matter whose ox is gored.”
KACHIKWU said: “I have instructed my lawyers to sue all digital media organisations who participated in the dissemination of this falsehood.
“They will also petition the police to arrest and prosecute all those who have breached the Cybercrime Act by using Twitter to defame, harass and threaten me. I will no longer tolerate these persistent attacks from sore losers.”
An online newspaper had alleged that a U.S. court ordered the confiscation of Kachikwu’s property over tax evasion. It also alleged he had been indicted for fraud and was therefore not a first-time offender.
But Kachikwu, in his reaction to the allegations, blamed political opponents for deploying smear campaigns against him.
He said: “Yesterday, I was inundated with calls and messages over a libellous and defamatory publication by an online blog known as ‘Peoples Gazette’.”
Kachikwu reiterated he had never been involved in any criminal activity anywhere in the world or absconded from the U.S.
He said: “I have a residence in the U.S. I just came back from there. My family lives there and my children school there. I have no criminal case in any part of the world. I have heard these people continue to persist in the fallacious argument that I have a criminal case.
“I have no criminal case anywhere in the world and I am not being investigated anywhere in the world. I have never been charged anywhere on any criminal matter. I have kept quiet for too long on this issue and now, my lawyer and police will take on anybody who persists in this.
“The publisher of this infamous blog intentionally stood truth on its head in order to achieve a predetermined objective.”
Kachikwu held that as a presidential candidate, he is rather occupied with finding solutions to the problems of Nigeria, and as such, would not be distracted by those he described as “sore losers.”
He added: “We are focusing on the campaign on how to take over Aso Rock next year and we would not be deterred by unscrupulous agents who want to distract us.”