Nigerian journalist and publisher of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar, has raised alarm over renewed threats to his life, saying Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State should be held responsible if anything happens to him.
The journalist, who in 2018 published videos showing the governor allegedly collecting kickbacks in US dollars and stuffing them in his pockets, wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Adamu, calling his attention to the threats he was facing from the governor and his supporters.
When asked about the video, the governor, during a town hall discussion organised by BBC Hausa Service, said it was doctored and there were plans to deal with anyone involved in making the video.
However, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has reportedly confirmed the authenticity of the video showing Ganduje receiving millions of dollars allegedly as a bribe.
The case has since been in court after Ganduje sued the publisher for defamation.
Jaafar submitted the new petition through his lawyer, Barrister Abdullahi Gumel. It partly reads, “Our client (Jaafar Jaafar) has de facto been made persona non-grata in his home state and lives in perpetual fear in the rest of the country including Abuja. Thus, he and his family have essentially been hiding for fear of their lives.”
“As if the above was not enough, Mr Ganduje recently indicated that he and his supporters are scheming underground to ‘deal with’ our client. Ganduje made this statement on a popular BBC Hausa program ‘A Fada A Cika’ which aired on the 19th March 2021. He insisted that he would not reveal their plans despite an opportunity to clarify what he meant.”
Jaafar’s lawyer argued that Ganguje’s utterances confirmed plans to harm his client and said the governor’s supporters had, in the past, stalked, harassed, and threatened Jaafar.
“Importantly, Ganduje is by this statement instigating, inciting, aiding, abetting and procuring his supporters (especially those he is working secretly with) to harm our client, his family and property. This has caused our client unprecedented fear of violence and has alarmed and distressed him,” Gumel wrote.
“Sir, the above facts must be seen in the contest of the fact that Mr Ganduje, being a sitting Governor and member of the ruling party, is one of the most powerful politicians in Nigeria. He has thousands of diehard supporters, including those directly and indirectly employed by him. Thus, his words carry weight in the minds of thousands of supporters across Nigeria who may be incited to attack our client.”
Gumel adds that his client stands by his publications and maintains both that the videos are genuine and the attached stories are true.
“It is worthy of note that Mr Ganduje has instituted an action for defamation which my client is vehemently and successfully defending in court. However, Mr Ganduje has apparently lost faith in the merit of his suit, hence, this unground planning that he said he is orchestrating,” he said.
He urged the police chief to investigate possible plans to harm Jaafar, protect him from further threats and harassment, and prevail on Ganduje to “issue a statement calling on his supporters and cronies to stop threatening and harassing our clients.”
“In view of the foregoing, the governor should be held responsible if anything happened to our client,” the petition concluded.
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