By Farouk Abdulhamid
Last week, I listened to a BBC Hausa programme in which Jaafar Jaafar, Editor-in-Chief of the online Daily Nigerian who also made viral, the yet to be authenticated video clips of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje was interviewed.
Though I started listening to the programme half way, I later realized that Jaafar was interviewed in London. Upon further inquiries, I was made to understand that the publisher fled the country to the United Kingdom with his family and claimed would only return to Nigeria when the government can guarantee his safety.
The development has come as a surprise to many observers and public affairs commentators who question the integrity of the publisher as an investigative journalist, who should have stand by the truth and defend his story at all cost.
Jaafar, who had prior to his reported trip to UK also claimed that he has gone into hiding for fear of his life, citing Governor Ganduje’s remarks during a BBC Hausa programme, Hannu da Yawa, about wanting to “deal with” journalists. The governor’s remarks, I later gathered, are believed to be in reference to that civil defamation suit by Ganduje against Jaafar for the publication of that damaging video.
Also, Jaafar’s assertion in the petition wrote to the Inspector General of Police that he fled the state is also false, because the journalist had freely entered and exited Kano since 2018 without receiving any threats. I doubt much if there is any threat to the life of the journalist. He is well known for character assassination of individuals; public figures including politicians and mostly get away with.
While Jaafar escapes justice and fled to London, apparently on an asylum, having been inspired, seemingly by Audu Bulama Bukarti, whose flair for downright vituperation, snigger, contumely or outright envy of public figures is also well known, particularly as regular feature in both local and international radio programmes.
Bukarti, an over ambitious, self-styled human rights and anti-corruption lawyer struggling, at all cost, to gain recognition, also fled to London under the pretext that leader of Jama’atu ahlis sunnati lid da’awati commonly known as Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau had mentioned his name in one of his videos.
It is very important for so-called asylum givers, who in most cases, capitalize on selfish political interests to achieve an aim, should always make background checks on individuals or groups who might have committed crime only to seek sanctuary in such countries. I do not think people who stand for the cause of their people should entertain any fear or threat, if they really believe in what they stand for.
And while the matter drags on and particularly the legal battle, one is tempted to ask Jaafar to be fair and objective as an investigative reporter and make public the identity of the bribe giver in the video he shared.
More so, Jaafar has admitted that he did not recorded the video and therefore, should at least be sincere with his investigative reporting through observance of the rule of engagement by involving the relevant anti-corruption agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) in the matter. That can give him the clout to cancel his identity or that of the so-called whistleblower.
However, since he entombed the personality of the whistleblower, he claimed had given him the video clips, it will only be appropriate and fair to the party involved to let the world know the giver who is supposed to be the real culprit.
If Jaafar is unable or deliberately refused to do so, then one can rightly said that the whole issue is a set up to blackmail and damage the hard earn reputation of the Kano governor.
Abdulhamid wrote in from Abuja and can reached at [email protected]