Pilot Publisher In A Fake News Scandal Against Lawmakers.
…..Stop this cheap blackmail against us, Delta Reps replies Nigeria Pilot Publisher.
…. Say allegations aimed at intimidation, extortion.
Two Delta State House of Representatives members; Hon Nicholas Mutu and his colleague, Thomas Ereyitomi have raised the alarm over acts suggestive of blackmail and extortion by the Editor-in-Chief of Nigeria Pilot Newspaper, one Mr. Dennis Sami.
They dismissed a series of fabricated allegations being levelled by the Publisher and his co-travellers against them as a ruse and cheap blackmail.
A statement signed by Boma Akpotutari, Senior Special Assistant to Hon. Mutu said Sami has been sending series of messages and making several telephone calls to the two Federal lawmakers in the past one month, threatening to publish some unsubstiated and frivolous allegations against them, if they could not meet his monetary request.
Specifically, he accused Mutu of parading fake school certificates, with which he has been in the House since 1999.
Sami and his Editor, one Emmanuel Ibeleme have been inundating Mutu and Ereyitomi with text messages and letters threatening to go to press with the allegations.
In one of the letters titled, “ ALLEGATIONS OF FAKE CERFITICATES AGAINST YOU”, to Mutu , they alleged : “ We have it on good authority that the certificates you have been parading which you also used to obtain a seat in the hallowed chamber of Nigeria’s House of Representatives where you have been sitting for the past 20 years are fake.
“ We have also been authoritatively told that you are not only using the certificates that do not belong to you but that you also used the same certificates to do a degree course at the Delta state university”.
This was on the paper’s official letterhead and signed by Ibeleme.
In another text to Mutu by Sami, he said, “It’s urgent, in your interest, regarding, key documents and publication, thanks, Editor in Chief, Nig. Pilot Newspaper.”
In the text message to Ereyitomi, they threatened, ” my name is Dennis Sami , Editor in Chief , Nigerian Pilot Newspaper. It’s urgent and in your interest speak very brief, thanks, accept my highest regards.
“We have done our best to get your side of the story on allegations against you , we do not have choice than to go ahead with our cover story , thanks”.
But unperturbed Mutu and Ereyitomi said they have nothing to worry about, insisting that all their certificates and documents are genuine and authentic and obtained from relevant institutions they attended.
They told their accusers to think otherwise and stop dissipating their energies, spreading unfounded allegations and falsehood aimed at intimidating and extorting money from them.
They maintained an unrepentant stand not to offer bribes to stop the publication of the spurious allegations.
The lawmakers disclosed that they have explained their side of the stories to Sami, adding he was free to do his job instead of bothering them with endless telephone calls and text messages in the past one month.
“The Media should be allowed to perform its role as the watchdog of the society but there is also a responsibility attached to that. The Media can only disseminate, publish and provide factual, objective and credible information to the public.
The persistent calls and text messages by the Publisher and other operators of Nigeria Pilot to us in the past one month on the same subject matter have established their real intention- To intimidate and extort money from us.”
” This is criminal, unprofessional and negation of the tenets of Journalism.”
We have asked the Publisher of Nigeria Pilot to go ahead with whatever he has in his possession after our explanations, inasmuch as such publication can withstand the rigours of legal scrutiny.”
We expected them to have published whatever they have on us, long before now, and damn the consequences of their action.”
Specifically, in a letter dated May 19th, 2023, signed and forwarded to Sami by Mutu’s Lawyer, M. J. Numa, SAN, he presented all facts concerning the allegations.
Numa in the letter captioned, “RE- ALLEGATIONS OF FAKE CERFITICATES AGAINST YOU”, asked Sami to exercise caution as all the allegations being peddled have been adjudicated upon and resolved by courts of competent jurisdiction, including the election petitions tribunal and Federal High Court.
Numa said all the issuing authorities of Mutu’s certificates and other relevant authorities and stakeholders, including the National Assembly, have authenticated and confirmed them to be genuine, adding that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has also thoroughly investigated and vindicated his client.
He pointed out that the allegations are “false, malicious and actionable in libel and targeted at bringing our client’s image to disrepute and in furtherance of their campaign of calumny in this era of politics and same will not be tolerated.”
The Lawyer added, “We thank you and we hope you will conduct your investigation professionally as you are expected to do and in that regard, come to the unassailable conclusion that the information being paraded as you have narrated in your letter is false, malicious and simply aimed at bringing the image of Hon. Nicholas Mutu to an unnecessary dispute.”
“Once again, we appreciate your attention to this matter and your commitment to upholding the journalistic integrity.”
Copies of Nigeria Pilot Newspaper’s letter to Mutu and the Lawyer’s response are hereby attached.
We are, however, alarmed that despite having provided enough information to enable Sami and his Newspaper to draw reasonable conclusions for the kangaroo publication, Sami continues to saturate the lawmaker with calls and text messages, apparently to intimidate him to meet his monetary demand.
” This so- called Sami have been pestering us , threatening to publish, we are ready for him. We will not tolerate this anymore”.