The Zamfara State government has described as lies, reports that the convoy of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle was attacked by armed bandits.
The government specifically said what happened was a case of an auto crash involving the convoy of the governor which resulted in the death of two policemen among others that were injured.
While describing action of the journalists as blackmail since he was nowhere near the purported incident or simply relied on any other reputable media as source of his malicious presentation, the government said it was “one of the highest level of irresponsible and abuse of professional ethics of journalism.”
The clarification was contained in a statement obtained by The Trent on Saturday, August 31, 2019, entitled: “Purported bandits’ attack on Governor Matawalle’s convoy incorrect”, and signed by the Director-General (Press Affairs) in Zamfara State Government House, Yusuf Idris Gusau.
According to him, the State government had reported the case to the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, with a view to investigating the journalists and revel ending appropriate punishment for a libellous publication against the governor.
He said, “The attention of the Zamfara State government has been drawn to an online media report under the byline of one Ifeanyi Nwana, who is known in the state as the representative of Desert Herald newspaper but published the fabricated report on Daily Post.
“We feel pained that the journalists either relied on unverified account or chose to malign the person of Governor Mohammed Bello Matawalle and government of Zamfara State for no just cause.
“He maliciously reported the governor’s convoy was attacked by armed bandits on Thursday while on his way to Gusau from Abuja. Nothing of the sort ever happened. Rather it was a case of an accident that resulted in the death of two policemen among others that were injured.
The journalists’s action is one of the highest level of irresponsible and abuse of professional ethics of journalism. His conduct, to say the least, smacks of blackmail as he was nowhere near the purported incident or relied on any other reputable media as source of his malicious account.
“To cap it all, the journalists ignored an earlier press statement released from the governor’s office which was signed by the Director-General of Press Affairs in which the details of an accident involving the two policemen attached to the governor’s convoy were killed.
“We make haste to say even if banditry still rages in Zamfara, which it doesn’t, there was no way anyone would cross over from Katsina state to attack the governor or his aide at a time security has been tightened around the state while the governor is working round the clock to unite the good people of Zamfara against all forms of lawlessness.
“At this juncture, we wish to cordially invite the journalists to avail us with the source of his reports, where the incident occurred, where the governor was when the purported attack was carried out.
“In the meantime, we wish to state that the State Government has formally complained to the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, in the state to investigate Ifeanyi Nwana with a view to sanctioning him for unprofessional conduct and libel against the governor, government and people of Zamfara State.”