Business mogul, Chief Emeka Offor, has accused a section of the social media of deliberately embarking on a smear campaign against him and his family.
He said some recent publications by online news medium, Sahara Reporters, were clearly designed to defame him.
Offor raised the issue in a statement issued yesterday on behalf of the family by his brother, Hon. Onyebuchi Offor – a representative of the highly respected Offor family in Ekwusigo Local Government Area and the Minority Leader, Anambra State House of Assembly.
Offor said that the entire reports by the online medium contained nothing but outright falsehood.
The family said that it was convinced that the news medium was undertaking the dirty job for pecuniary gains.
He said that Sahara Reporters has published over seven libellous articles on Emeka Offor in the last 30 days.
Offor gave Sahara Reporters seven days to apologise to him and his family over the misleading reports or face legal action within and outside Nigeria.
Hon. Offor said: “We consider that Sahara Reporters has constituted itself into the orchestrator and purveyor of a targeted smear campaign against Sir Emeka Offor, possibly for economic gain and at the behest of certain unscrupulous elements.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that Sir Emeka Offor is one of the most industrious and accomplished Nigerians of his generation. He has attracted and enjoyed God’s entrepreneurial and pecuniary blessings for over three decades. He has in turn consistently channelled those blessings toward the betterment of his fellow men (and women and children) by remarkable acts of philanthropy.
“Notable among the plethora of honours and recognitions that he has received in that regard is the award by the Rotary Club International for his immense contributions towards humanity and the global war against polio”.
Contrary to Sahara Reporters’ assertions, Offor said that he is hale and hearty and a happily married man with beautiful children whom he loves and who love him as well.
According to him, his multinational businesses have continued to thrive while his personal wealth continues to endure for the benefit of those who have “benefited from his legendary largesse, munificence and altruism.”
Offor also explained that planning by his family for the burial of his father, Pa Offor, is on course, noting that it was disgusting that Sahara Reporters chose to disrespect the memory of Pa Offor by bringing him into its unwarranted publications.
The astute businessman affirmed that his organisations have contributed over 50 percent to the building of the Oraifite Civic Centre which stands as one of the best civic centres in the South East zone.
Offor explained that contrary to the reports, he has been running a unique university scholarship scheme for over 20 years with the provision of a car and automatic employment for beneficiaries who graduate with First Class degrees.
He further disclosed that he runs a widows’ cooperative society with over 3,000 members under which a significant number of the widows have been sent to India for training on managing a cooperative society.
These widows, he said, have established a microfinance bank and other thriving microenterprises.
The family said that Offor had built a well- equipped Anglican Church in the South East in Oraifite; singlehandedly constructed a major community road (off Onitsha/Owerri Road to Oraifite /Nnewi border). This project was executed by renowned civil engineering and contracting firm (MCC) as well as built the Ekwusigo LGA Central Police Station.
Others are the provision of a free water scheme for the four quarters of Oraifite (Unodu, Ezumeri, Irefi and Ifite); skill acquisition programmes undertaken by youths of Ekwusigo LGA under Sir Emeka Offor’s Youth Empowerment Scheme.
Offor said that he trained over 100 youths in various skills acquisition programmes and empowered them financially to start their own businesses.
The family described Sir Offor as a serial job creator with over 3,000 Nigerians under his payroll, indirectly creating over 10,000 jobs in addition.
His star of charity, according to the family, shines far beyond his immediate community, such as his partnership with a United States (US)-based NGO, through his Foundation to donate books, reading materials and computers worth over $22 million to schools and communities in over 18 African countries.
Sir Offor has also established a glaucoma research centre at the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Mainz, Germany and in conjunction, established a Nigerian fellowship for cataract surgery and glaucoma management at the university.
Similalry, Offor has donated $2 million, which was matched with a grant of an additional $4 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative launched by the Rotary International, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and the US Centre for Disease Control.
Through his Foundation, Sir Offor entered into a long-term agreement with The Carter Centre to eliminate river blindness (‘Onchocerciasis’) in Nigeria and provided a $10 million grant to the Carter Centre, the largest grant ever received by the organisation, to facilitate its efforts at eliminating river blindness in Nigeria.
He said: “In the light of the above, we wish to ask Sahara Reporters some pertinent questions: What do you intend to achieve by the malicious publications?
“Why have you never reached out to Sir Emeka Offor, in keeping with the ethics of journalism, directly or through his conglomerate’s media relations’ representatives, to get his own side of any of the stories you wished to peddle?”
In his conclusion, Hon Offor said: “We want to assure Sahara Reporters however that we will not sit back and watch you continue your attempts at discrediting our brother. We intend, as a family, to take advantage of all legal and equitable remedies available to us in domestic and international laws against Sahara Reporters if within seven days, you fail to tender an unreserved apology to Sir Emeka Offor and his family for your defamatory publications and character assassination. We also demand that Sahara Reporters cease and desist henceforth from making any other or further defamatory publications against Sir Emeka Offor or any member of the Offor family.”