By SaharaReporters, New York
Tunde Bakare, the firebrand lawyer and pastor who yesterday answered an invitation of the State Security Service (SSS), which appealed to him to tone down his blazing political message on the pulpit, is about to serve a different kind of fire to AIT Television.
In a letter to the Chairman of DAAR Communications, which owns AIT Television, lawyers to the Pastor today gave the station 48 hours to apologize for yesterday’s 8pm newscast, in which it said that Mr. Bakare was arrested by the SSS for his speech at the Latter Rain Assembly the previous day, or face immediate legal action.
The lawyers noted that in the broadcast, AIT alleged that Mr. Bakare was “detained for 48 hours by the State Security Service before he was released on bail,” and that during interrogation, Mr. Bakare “denied making certain statements in his speech and stated that he was misquoted by the press”.
“The foregoing statements credited to our client were never made by him neither at the State Security Services office nor at any other place,” the letter said. “By your statements, you have injured the reputation of our client by portraying him as a man who lacks the temerity and courage to stand by his words before constituted authority.”
According to the statement, the “calculated attempt to further injure the reputation” of Pastor Bakare was followed up this morning on the live “Focus Nigeria” programme when anchor Kunle Adewale, commenting on the topic, “ARREST AND DETENTION OF PASTOR TUNDE BAKARE BY THE SSS,” posited that the pastor is “mixing politics with the pulpit” and urged Nigerians to call in and comment on his conduct.
“The comment/broadcast of Kunle Adewale during the live broadcast, insinuates that our client is a disgruntled politician who is hiding under the disguise of religion to instigate a change of government,” the notice said. “The comment/broadcast also suggests that our client’s “message of enlightenment” is an incitement on Nigerians to revolt against the present Government.
It further affirmed that the broadcast is malicious, offensive and intended to disparage Mr. Bakare and cause him embarrassment and public condemnation.
“The aforestated publication has grossly lowered the reputation of our client in the estimation of right-thinking members of the Nigerian society and the world in general. It has exposed our client, founder of Latter Rain Assembly and Convener of Save Nigeria Group to public odium and ridicule. Our client has been inundated with calls and text messages by friends and associates who are perturbed by the broadcast. This broadcast has exposed our client to the worst condemnation ever made against any Pastor and Human Rights Activist.”
Furthermore, said the notice, “Our client finds it totally unacceptable that a man who convened the peaceful protest on the removal of subsidy in Lagos would be so cowardly as to deny making the said speech or attributing the content of his speech to the misquotations of the press. It corrodes the reputation of our client to suggest that a man of his status who chooses to walk the path of honesty would use the Lord’s name for political gains or lie against the press.”
AIT has yet to respond to the ultimatum, which will expire on Thursday.