Abuja - The Presidency on Wednesday condemned the listing of President Goodluck Jonathan as the sixth richest African president by Richest Lifestyle, a U.S.-based website.
Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement described Jonathan's inclusion in the list of richest African presidents as baseless and libellous.
The statement said that the rating was another attempt to “unjustifiably portray the president as a corrupt leader and incite public disaffection against him.”
It demanded immediate retraction of the publication and an apology from the website and other local media outlets that reproduced it to the president.
Failure to do this, according to the statement, would result in the institution of lawsuits against the organisations involved both within and out the country.
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The statement read: “We have noted with consternation the listing of Jonathan by a website, RichestLifestyle.com, as the sixth richest African president with an estimated net worth of 100 million U.S. dollars.”
“The presidency condemns the totally unwarranted inclusion of President Jonathan in the publication titled: Africa’s Richest Presidents 2014.”
“This is another attempt to unjustifiably portray the president as a corrupt leader and incite public disaffection against him.”
“We categorically assert that there is no factual basis for ranking Jonathan as the sixth richest African Head of State with a net worth of about 100 million U.S. dollars.”
“As is well known, Jonathan has never been a businessman or entrepreneur, but a life-long public servant.”
“He has held public office since 1999 and has regularly declared his assets as required by Nigerian laws.”
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“The president has had no personal income since 1999 other than his official remuneration as deputy governor, governor, vice president, acting president and president which are matters of public record.”
“There has been no significant variation in the totality of his personal assets as contained in his last declaration to the Nigerian Code of Conduct Bureau in 2011.”
“As can be verified, that declaration was a very, very far cry from the 100 million dollars figure now being bandied about by Richest Lifestyle.com and other irresponsible, copy-cat publications.”
“The clear and unacceptable imputation of the claim that Jonathan is now worth about 100 million dollars is that the president has corruptly enriched himself while in office which is certainly not the case.”
“We, therefore, demand a retraction and an unreserved apology from Richest Lifestyle.com and all those who have reproduced the offensive article.”
“Otherwise, they should be prepared to substantiate their libellous claims against the president in courts of law within and outside Nigeria,” the statement said.