Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has filed a suit at the State High Court seeking N2 billion damages against Senator Shehu Sani, who has promptly denied making any derogatory statement against the governor.
The governor filed a four defamation charge against the senator representing Kaduna Central zone.
The governor, who personally filed the suit on Friday, is seeking compensation for the injury he allegedly suffered as a result of “the malicious statements” by Senator Sani.
He accused the lawmaker of calling him an embarrassment to President Muhammadu Buhari among others.
El-Rufai is also seeking a declaration that the derogatory remarks purportedly made against him by Senator Sani are totally false and injurious to his person in the eyes of the public.
Counsel to the governor, Mr. Abdul-Hakeem Mustapha, said at the court premises that each of the four actions attracts the sum of N500 million each.
He also dismissed insinuations that his client, by virtue of his position, lacked the constitutional right to sue any citizen.
In a swift reaction, Sani said that though he had not gotten any document of the suit, but was fully prepared.
He, however, denied making any derogatory remarks, stressing that he never called the governor a drunk, loose cannon, or an embarrassment to the President.
Instead, the lawmaker said his criticism was limited to issues that have to do with governance and alleged abuse of power by Governor El-Rufai.
He also accused the governor of dragging the President into his battle, saying: “He always hides behind President Muhammadu Buhari … and all that I mean is about my own state.”
Sani insisted that he has the fundamental right to express himself, saying he cannot be stopped or silenced by any legal action.
With the governor suing the lawmaker, there seems to be no end in sight yet in the crisis rocking the Kaduna State chapter of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
The crisis has been on for a while and has resulted in the suspension of Senator Shehu Sani in 2016, and Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi in February by the APC leadership in the state.
Consequently, a faction of the party emerged but its secretariat was demolished by the Kaduna State government which said its action was not politically motivated.
Worried by the crisis, the APC National Working Committee met on Wednesday and set up a three-man committee to investigate the disagreement that led to the emergence of a faction among other issues in the state.
The is headed by the APC Deputy National Chairman (South), Mr Segun Oni, and has the party’s national auditor and national woman leader, George Moghalu and Rahmatu Alliyu, as members.
It has been directed to embark on a fact-finding mission to Kaduna, with a view to identifying the remote and immediate causes of the disagreement and report back to the NWC within a week.