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Lawyer and Human Right Activist, Mike Ozekhome, has said that a journalist with LegitNG goofed by blaming Forbes over a report he said is damaging on the image of his client, Pastor Reno Omokri.
The said report reads thus: “Reno Omokri lies again, claims Aliko Dangote ranked 117th richest by Forbes.”

The journalist, Mr. Rahman Abiola Toheeb, in the report, said the number one bestselling author and former aide to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan lied about the true worth of Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

However, in a series of mails and replies between Omokri and the journalist, Mr Rahman Abiola apologized for the error in the report but quickly blamed Forbes for misleading him.

According to his statement, he would correct the error and write Forbes for misleading him.
He said thus to Omokri:
“While I admit my mistake, I will say the error was from Forbes which could have made the update and adjustment in the first article. I assure you I’ll write to Forbes on this.
“Dangote lost “40%” of his net worth.
“If we were to calculate Dangote’s net worth with $16.1 billion as contained in the first article by Forbes, the loss wasn’t up to 40%. This means the error totally came from Forbes for allowing the first article to stay without getting it updated. I assure you that necessary adjustments will be made to the article from the headline to the main content. Notably, I respect your politeness which I am now closely known to.
Thanks and God bless sir.”
However, in a response demanding a retraction, Pastor Omokri said thus:
“When you make a mistake, that is a sign of weakness. Weakness can be excused. However, when you refuse to apologise for your mistake, it is a sign of wickedness. And wickedness cannot be excused.

Your profile says you are a 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact Checking Fellow, and Editor. How do you think that that organisation would assess your fact checking editorial skills, given the above?

You relied on an outdated and debunked article. You also tweeted a Wikipedia article ar me as your source evidence. I read law up to Masters level in England, and one of the things we were taught was never to rely on Wikipedia, because it is unreliable and inadmissible in court, given that it can be edited by anybody, without editorial supervision.

You sullied my reputation in your article, https://www.legit.ng/1430302-reno-omokri-lies-claims-aliko-dangote-ranked-117th-richest-by-forbes.html, and have neither apologised or taken any steps to undo the damage. Rather, despite my best efforts, you have publicly doubled down on these unfounded claims.

Put yourself in my shoes, would you want that done to you?

If you and Legit NG correct the damage you did to my reputation by publishing an apology, I give my word of honour that I will consider the matter settled and would take no further action.

If, on the other hand, you do not correct your mistake, I will consider your report as malicious and will brief my lawyers, Messrs Mike Ozekhome SAN, who is copied on this email.

Once again, thank you and may God bless you.”

In an earlier mail to the journalist, Pastor Omokri corrected him and cited Forbes updated report where it corrected its ranking of Dangote.
Reno said thus:
“I choose to believe your story was a honest mistake. As a result, I will provide you more evidentiary material to show that your story about me titled ‘Reno Omokri lies, claims Aliko Dangote ranked 117th richest in 2021; 25th in 2013 by Forbes false’ inaccurate.

Do note that Forbes magazine corrected its initial 2013 global wealth ranking with regards to Mr. Aliko Dangote, because it made an error in that listing.

Please note that the first list was released by Forbes on March 4, 2013. Subsequently, there was a complaint, and Forbes did a review and corrected its earlier listing.

Do find here a link to that correction which Forbes did on Dangote in 2013, in which they acknowledged their error (https://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2013/06/01/aliko-dangote-is-africas-first-20-billion-man/?sh=4b92531415c6).

For emphasis, I will quote directly from the relevant parts of the article:

“Put into context, the Nigerian billionaire is now among the TOP 25 RICHEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.”

Please note that in the earlier ranking, Mr. Dangote was listed as the world’s 43rd richest person. But his net worth was recalculated in the Forbes feature of June 1, 2013, whose link is provided below.

Again, I quote from the story:

“The stock value of his largest holding, Dangote Cement, leaped just about three-fourths since March when Forbes released its annual ranking of the world’s richest people”.

At that time, they listed his worth at more than $20 billion. Again, I will now quote the relevant parts of that article:

“Dangote is now worth MORE THAN $20 BILLION.”

Based on the assets Forbes listed in the article whose link I have provided for you above, I made a personal estimate of Dangote’s 2013 net worth at $25 billion.

Now, in 2021, Forbes lists Dangote as the world’s 191st richest person. At the same time, Bloomberg listed Dangote as the 117th richest person on Earth in 2021.

I chose to go with Bloomberg’s rating because it is less damaging to Aliko Dangote. If I wanted to be malicious, I would have obviously gone with Forbes’ ranking, WHICH WAS WORSE. I am a patriotic Nigerian. I may have issue with General Buhari’s maladministration, However, those issues does not extend to Mr. Dangote.

When I called your attention to these facts on Twitter, you again publicly called me a liar. I wonder why you would do that, especially as my language to you was courteous and measured, with respectful decorum, though I am older than you.

You will agree with me that your newspaper relied on a 2013 Forbes report that had been debunked by Forbes itself.

I have taken great pains to write to you to show that I was honest and straightforward in my post, and that you made a mistake, which you again published in your tweet below as a way of rebutting.

When you make a mistake, that is a sign of weakness. Weakness can be excused. However, when you refuse to apologise for your mistake, it is a sign of wickedness. And wickedness cannot be excused.

Your profile says you are a 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact Checking Fellow, and Editor. How do you think that that organisation would assess your fact checking editorial skills, given the above?

You relied on an outdated and debunked article. You also tweeted a Wikipedia article ar me as your source evidence. I read law up to Masters level in England, and one of the things we were taught was never to rely on Wikipedia, because it is unreliable and inadmissible in court, given that it can be edited by anybody, without editorial supervision.

You sullied my reputation in your article, https://www.legit.ng/1430302-reno-omokri-lies-claims-aliko-dangote-ranked-117th-richest-by-forbes.html, and have neither apologised or taken any steps to undo the damage. Rather, despite my best efforts, you have publicly doubled down on these unfounded claims.

Put yourself in my shoes, would you want that done to you?

If you and Legit NG correct the damage you did to my reputation by publishing an apology, I give my word of honour that I will consider the matter settled and would take no further action.

If, on the other hand, you do not correct your mistake, I will consider your report as malicious and will brief my lawyers, Messrs Mike Ozekhome SAN, who is copied on this email.

Once again, thank you and may God bless you.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Activist and lawyer, Ozekhome has said that he demands nothing but a retraction from the journalist.

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