The Nigerian Police Force has written to the publisher of Daily Nigerian newspaper, Ja’afar Ja’afar, inviting him for questioning at its office.
According to a letter signed by A.A Elleman, the head of the Inspector General of Police Monitoring unit, Mr Ja’afar was billed to appear before the police on Monday.
The journalist was accused of defaming the IGP, though the letter did not state whether it is the present acting IGP, Usman Alkali or his predecessor, Mohammed Adamu.
“This office is investigating a case of criminal conspiracy, defamation, injurious falsehood and inciting violence to the Inspector General of Police in which your name featured.
“In view of the foregoing, you are kindly requested to interview (sic) the undersigned on Monday, 19th April, 2021 by 10:00am prompt through SP Usman Garba (Admin Officer) to shed more light on the allegations,” the letter partly read.
Fear for safety
The journalist has, however, gone into hiding due to fear for his life.
He told PREMIUM TIMES from his hideout that “there was never a time he mentioned either the former or present IGP in any of his stories”.
He also accused the police of trying to arrest him upon arrival in its office.
“Police are trying to file criminal charges against me for publishing Ganduje videos,” he said. “That I defamed the character of IGP is a bait to arrest, detain and file criminal charges against me.”
“I wrote nothing against the former and the current IGP,” he said.
Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, did not respond to phone calls and text messages from this newspaper.
Mr Ja’afar’s invitation comes exactly a month after Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje revealed that those behind a video of him collecting bribe would be brought to shame.
The Daily Nigerian newspaper published a video appearing to show Mr Ganduje pocketing vast wads of American dollars in what was said to be bribe payments from public works contractors.
The governor could be seen collecting the dollars before rolling them into his white dress, “babanriga,” in one of a series of questionable deals allegeldly struck over a span of several months.
The video that immediately went viral allegedly damaged Mr Ganduje’s reputation.
On a BBC Hausa programme, ‘Afada Acika’ sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, the governor for the umpteenth time, said the video was ‘cloned’ (manipulated)
“The video is fake and we are preparing to prove that. But I cannot preempt what we are doing with regard to that. I am assuring you this video is fake and all those that are behind it would be put to shame,” the governor said.
The videos that were serially published in 2018 by Daily Nigerian were reportedly recorded in 2017.
The governor had immediately described the video as ‘cloned’, then subsequently sued Mr Ja’afar.
The newspaper had alleged that the dollars were part of a $5 million the governor received from a government contractor.
Some of the videos were uploaded without audio, apparently to conceal the identity of the contractor.