Make public the evidence that i demanded any sum of money – Oliver challenges DSS
By Ehi Ekhator, Naija Center News
The Niger State Government has insisted that the arrested NTA journalist, Tega Samuel Ogenedoro alias Fejiro Oliver who was operating under secret reporters, was on a mission to blackmail and extort money with his indicting document.
Oliver disappearance caused confusion last Friday after he accepted invitation from the Niger State Government to discuss a scandalous document which he intended to make public.
The document that Oliver has, according to his close friend, Inibehe Effiong, is about 20 pages of chronicle of corruption worth N40 billion spanning years.
Meanwhile Fejiro was arraigned before a Magistrate where three count charges, including “intimidation” and “extortion” were read against him. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in Niger State Medium Prison until the 14 October, 2014.
Oliver denied the allegation of extortion on phone to his friend and laughed at the fabricated allegation against him by the DSS and the Niger State Government to tarnish his image. He also challenged the DSS to make public, the evidence that he ever demanded or attempted to extort any sum of money from any official of the Niger State Government.
He also explained how journalists who came for the media briefing ended up in a heated argument with the DSS after they saw no basis for his arrest. He added that he was pushed into a waiting vehicle by one of the DSS officers to avoid further communication with the media.
The journalist revealed that the allegation was levied against him after he refused threats and directives to discontinue his reports on his investigations into the corrupt activities of the state government.
Reacting to his statement, the Chief Press Secretary to the Niger State Government, Israel A. Ebije who spoke with NAIJA CENTER NEWS both on phone and through electronic email insisted that Oliver intention was to blackmail the state government.
He also said that he earlier sent a caveat to the secret reporters’ team to desist from going further with the publication without detailed knowledge of the allegation.
Below is a copy made available to NAIJA CENTER NEWS.
Read and be warned!
About your planned report on Niger state, i want to intimate you that you are breaching journalistic profession and the law.
let the attached confessional statement from your source (ilyasu Dhako) on the alleged information of government approvals serve as a caveat on the story you are about to publish. If you go ahead to run the story based on the mischievous imagination of the said person, then you will have yourself to be blamed.
We are aware you and your platoon of blackmailers are on an errand of blackmail to extract money from officials of Niger state government. It is therefore heartwarming to intimate you that government has been able to extract useful lead to who is dishing you fallacies from a bucket list of expired lies.
I hope you will back off the fools errand you are about to send yourself. Let it be on record that you have been vehemently advised to engage yoursel in useful professional duties instead of employing yourself in absolute errand of fallacious and self serving interest. i therefore wish you luck as you read, digest the content of this letter. your next action will indeed express the quality and capacity of your brain worth.
He revealed to NAIJA CENTER NEWS that the arrested journalist requested for an accommodation from the same government he was accusing of fraudulent activities, and the government was responsible for his flight ticket to Abuja where the meeting was to take place.
The CPS also made available to NAIJA CENTER NEWS, the text conversation between Oliver and the SSG, Ndako. Below is the excerpt:
Ndako: We are working out the possibility of beating the 9.30 am deadline to get the ticket out, your coming will be late evening and weekend,please tell me what to do next because I want an end to this issue and possible retrieval of all the documents. Regards
Fejiro: Sir, as long as Israel is out of the issue, we can manage everything successfully. I have gotten the receipt of the ticket and will be in Abuja tomorrow.
Ndako: Just trying to get prepared for we shall be looking at because of weekend.
Fejiro: SSG Sir, we can discuss everything when I come in tomorrow but you can count on mr that it will be fruitful
Ndako: So how do we meet, where and when? Need airport pickup?
Fejiro: Good Morning Sir, when the plane is set to fly, I will inform you. My staff in Abuja will be at the airport to pick me. Hotel accommodation for the 3 days is what is left and that can be done when I’m in Abuja.
Ndako: Okay no problem. Call me when you are in town
Fejiro: My flight is leaving now Sir.
Mr. Ebije said he spoke with Oliver several times on phone, and also brought to his attention that the man, ilyasu Dhako who he said gave him the documents out of anger, confessed and pleaded for forgiveness but refused to listen.
Read a copy of the confessional statement made available to NAIJA CENTER NEWS below.
Copy of the confessional statement of the whistle blower
Referring to the text conversation above where Oliver said as long as Israel is out of the issue, we can manage everything successfully, the CP said “He had good reasons for that. Top on his list for hating me is the fact that I made him to understand that Niger state will not part with money on account of his claims. He felt the SSG was more gullible( a mistake I know he is now regretting) and my presence will scuttle his mission.
“He knew very well that I had identified him as a rogue journalist. He therefore felt am a stumbling block between him and his cash cow (Niger state Government). He thought he could crawl in and out of Minna smiling all the way to the bank.
“Unfortunately some online media organizations feel he is been oppressed. Until stakeholders clamp on such characters, the trend is going to take a very dangerous twist. It will be a very sorry situation if just about anybody without adequate professional media training goes online to post things.
“About the documents he claim are with him, they are approvals mostly done in council. Many of them do not have cash backing. Those with cash backings have been executed. When Tega and I spoke I made him to understand that Ilyasu Dhako only distributed those documents to collect money. We have him on tape negotiating with a rogue journalist we set him up with. That recorded tape is before the court.
“The Niger state government is transparent, people based and has nothing to hide. It is however in an effort to avoid mischief inclined journalist to mitigate poisonous publication skewed to eclipse the good work of the Chief Servant that reacted on time – which government would watch and be ridiculed?
“Nigerians are more inclined to skewed information, mostly one-sided, hence the need to ensure that we warn against people using classified documents. Tega who does not know the techniques of the practice felt he can go on the cyberspace to release just anything without minding the source or authenticity of the alleged claims therein.
“How can an NTA cameraman claim he spent three months investigating Niger state on the errand of another news platform? He negates the position of NTA, he contravenes the law by working for another media organization at variance with the position of NTA and earning income from two organizations, which is against the civil service rule and a pointer to the kind of person he is.”
Asked if there was any point in time, Oliver in any of the text messages, discussed about N50 million to skew the publication, the CPS said ‘’I am not in the position to answer that, I was not the only one he was talking to, he also talked with the SSG’’
He said Oliver violated the rule of journalism by having at his disposal, a confidential document. When asked if the information on the document was genuine, he replied with some posers. Read the posers below. ‘
Below are questions I expected a professional journalist to answer on an investigation;
Is the source of the documents credible, am I not committing a felony being in possession of classified government documents?
- Are the council approvals on projects and programs to be executed feasible and achievable?
- Have funds actually been released for the execution of the proposed projects?
- Have they really been executed?
- If yes, do they meet the specifications and standards upon which they were approved?
- Are they commensurate to funds approved for it?
- Are the projects expected to serve the best interest of the general public?
Effort made to contact the SSG proved abortive as he intentionally told NAIJA CENTER NEWS correspondent that it was a wrong number and also denied reading the text message sent to him.
NAIJA CENTER NEWS discovered discrepancy from the statement by the director of the SSS, Larry Obiagwu. Mr. Obiagwu had on Tuesday said that Oliver was arrested by his men at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja while on his way to Minna to collect the said amount.
Findings revealed that Oliver had no intention of going to Minna as the meeting was scheduled to hold at a public place in Abuja probably out of fear of being whisked away to an unknown destination by unknown gunmen.
Nigerians, friends and families have been reacting over the arrest of the journalist as many questioned the SSS on the way the reporter was arrested without proof of extortion on phone, emails or direct communication.