22nd January, 2022
Okafor Ofiebor /Port Harcourt
A group, the Transparency In Petroleum Exploration and Development Initiative (TIPEDI ), has urged the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development, Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote not to be intimated to withdraw the libel suit he instituted against an online tabloid.
TIPEDI said this while reacting to what it described as an organized negative media campaign against Wabote following the libel suit he filed against Jackson Udeh, the Publisher of PointBlank news (an online newspaper) in the United States of America.
TIPEDI said the decision of Wabote to approach a competent court over the alleged libel against his person should be commended as he was trying to clear his name over what he considered as injurious to his reputation.
Comrade Derek Igho, the Director, Field Operations of TIPEDI, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, warned that those behind the smear campaign should steer clear and allow Engr. Simbi Wabote to focus on the good work NCDBM doing for the Country.
According to Igho, “Unfortunately, those bent on bringing them down are relentless. However, we in TIPEDI can say with all amount of confidence that the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote who seem to be their main target now, is a man of impeccable character and high moral standing. A technocrat, who is well known within the oil and gas industry for his operational philosophy of transparency, accountability and zero tolerance for wastes.”
“From our investigations, it has become clear that the entire campaign of calumny against Engr. Simbi Wabote is being orchestrated by forces that are no longer comfortable with his many achievements as Executive Secretary of the Local Content Board. But rather than coming out openly themselves to take him on, they resort to using Jackson Ude and lately”.
“But then any right thinking person, will rather commend Engr. Wabote for resorting to legal means to seek redress for the unwarranted, frivolous and libelous allegations that were made against him by Jackson Ude, who thought that because he was hiding in the United States, the long arm of the law would not catch up with him”.
“As an independent group, TIPEDI has been closely monitoring the Case in the US and we know that several motions filed by Jackson Ude’s lawyers at the Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, USA, have failed as the trial Judge had ruled against them. The last of which was on December 22nd when the Judge gave them deadline of January 4th 2022 to file their “Dispositive Response” which they had been delaying.”
“It is therefore, obvious that with the ongoing Libel suit against Jackson Ude in the US not going well for him, there is no more hiding place, so rather than focusing on proving their allegations in Court, they have resorted to their well-known tactics of spreading lies on Social Media. All in their desperate bid to portray Engr. Simbi Wabote in negative light before the public”.
“Our advice to the general public is to continue to disregard all the rubbish that are being spread by those that are always willing to be used in destroying innocent Nigerians, whose only crime is to serve Nigeria diligently in whatever area they find themselves.”
The group warned the people of the Niger Delta region and Nigerians to be circumspect of people who adopt arm-twisting tactics against those who stand up for their inalienable rights through the judicial process.