An aide to Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari on finance and economy Sarah Alade has sued two journalists- Alfred Olufemi and Gidado Yushau – over an investigative report on hemp smoking published in NewsDigest, an Abuja-based online newspaper.
Alade demanded the sum of N500 million from the journalists for the report.
The report claimed that the company Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industry, one of the groups of companies owned by Alade, tolerated the smoking of cigarettes, as well as Indian hemp by workers within its premises.
Police arrested and arraigned the two journalists before a Magistrate Court in Ilorin, Kwara State for criminal conspiracy and defamation against Sections 97 and 192 of the penal code. The duo pleaded not guilty.
The chief magistrate A.O Muhammed subsequently released the defendants on grounds of recognition and that they are innocent until proven otherwise.
The conditions of bail include two sureties who are relatives of the defendants with a bail bond of N200,000. The case was adjourned for hearing on January 13, 2020.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, the prosecutor could not provide a witness. The magistrate further adjourned to January 28.
Aside from demanding the N500 million from the duo, the company sought an order compelling the defendants to retract and delete the links of the report from their news platform
The company also asked the journalists to publish an apology on their online news platform and two national dailies.