Sahara Reporters’s Story is a Mere Fairy Tale, Says Saraki
As a rejoinder to article published by SaharaReporter under the title ‘We Stole Saraki’s N310m Because He Wanted To Bribe Judges With It—Senator’s Aides’, Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki in an article signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu his Special Adviser (Media and Communication) wrote below response.
Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki has described the story by an online medium, Sahara Reporters insisting that the money stolen during an Abuja robbery incident in which some soldiers and Department of State Security (DSS) officials were arrested belong to him as another fairy tale and outright falsehood, which are the hallmarks of the medium. He said the money does not belong to him.
In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki reiterated his earlier statement that he knew nothing about the money and that the security agencies have on their own confirmed that the money belong to the operator of an Abuja based bureau de change.
“Also, the Bureau de Change operator has admitted to investigators that the money belongs to him. However, Sahara Reporters owned by one Omoyele Sowore, having realised that it goofed has been holding on to straw and piecing together inaccurate information, outright falsehood and manipulation of situations to create a story that will support their false position.
“It is unfortunate that the online medium and its sponsors are exploiting the loopholes in the law to malign the character of people, make false and exaggerated claims and even disrupt criminal investigations with the belief that they cannot be made to account for their illegal activities because they operate outside the country.
“If the medium has access to people who are fugitive from the law on allegations of robbery, should they not help the investigators by reporting to the relevant security agencies? At this point, the security agencies are advised to look at the claims made by this online medium and take appropriate step. This is another irresponsible story from the stable of an organisation that has little regards for ethics and morals of the noble profession of journalism.
“The Senate President will want Nigerians to recall that he had earlier sent a letter dated March 17, 2016 to the Director General of the DSS and followed up with a reminder calling on him to investigate the robbery case and let members of the public know the outcome so as to establish that he has nothing to do with the stolen funds. By now, one would have expected the SSS to have concluded their investigation and make public the outcome.
“Also, the medium claimed that Dr. Saraki live in an official quarters, a claim that is far from the truth. The Senate President lives in his private residence in Maitama, Abuja. Members of the public can recall that Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara saved the nation N8bn which they directed should be removed from the allocation in the 2016 budget by the Federal Capital Territory Administration for the construction of their official residences. The two men said they will continue to live in their private residence as they cannot approve more than N1bn each for the construction of official residence which had a vote of N10 billion originally allocated to it.
“Once again, we made bold to say that Dr. Saraki has nothing to do with the money stolen from a Bureau de Change operator in a robbery incident involving some soldiers and DSS agents. When the incident of theft in his Ilorin office occurred, we quickly made a statement stating the facts.
“It should be clear to members of the public that Sahara Reports clearly take delight in publishing falsehood and running down decent people in the society. On several occasions it has published false reports concerning the Senate President’s case at the CCT and each time it is proved that it’s reports are false, the medium will move on as if nothing has happened. Many top public officers have been victims of the blackmail game by this organisation.
“It is only in a country like ours that online media which disseminate information for public consumption will be acting without laws and regulation to guide their activities. The importance of the role of the online media in today’s Nigeria places a social responsibility on them to be self regulated and act in line with global best practices. It is believed that in a society that is asking for change, the change should not be restricted to people in public offices, it should also extend to operators of private institutions that serve public purposes like the online media”, the statement noted.