Blackmail of NDDC Boss Will Be Resisted, South-South Group Warns
…Demands retraction, apology from Sahara Reporters
The South-South Emerging Leaders Forum, SELF, has warned those using blackmail to distract the recently inaugurated Governing Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, from its quest to fast-track the development of the Niger Delta region, to desist forthwith.
A press statement signed by the National Coordinator of the Forum, Barr. Benjamin Kwalowei, and made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt, emphasized that Dr. Ogbuku had long been cleared of all the malicious allegations by competent courts of law in the country.
Kwalowei condemned the publication in Sahara Reporters, an online publication, of Thursday, January 12, 2023, entitled: “How Newly Appointed NDDC Managing Director, Ogbuku Was Arrested For Alleged Murder In 2014, Arraigned By Anti-graft Agency, EFCC For Multi-billion Naira Fraud.”
He expressed dismay that the online medium reported a case of alleged assassination attempt on the life of Chief Timi Alaibe, where six persons were killed in Opokuma in 2014 and another case of alleged N19.2 billion fraud in 2012, without relying on the facts that were in public domain.
According to the South-South Forum, “the reported cases against Dr. Samuel Ogbuku were carried out in bad light and it should be condemned outrightly. It is obvious that Sahara Reporters did not carry out due diligence but hurriedly reported falsehood against an innocent man, who is now the Managing Director of the NDDC.”
The group demanded an unreserved apology and retraction of the malicious reports against the NDDC Chief Executive Officer from the online publication.
Kwalowei stated: “The High Court of Bayelsa State of Nigeria, in the said case of murder decided by Hon. Justice Kate Abiri (The then Chief Judge) on the 22nd December, 2014 had discharged and acquitted Dr. Samuel Ogbuku of any wrong-doing.
“Justice Kate Abiri stated in the judgement that ‘from the totality of evidence placed before this Court, and having carefully considered the ingredients of the offence, I find that the prosecution failed to prove all the three allegations conjunctively which has affected the quality of proof required, which is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The accused person Samul Ogbuku is accordingly discharged and acquitted from the one count charge of murder against him.”
Also reacting to the alleged case of N19.2 billion fraud in 2012, reported against Dr. Ogbuku, the group said that a Federal High Court of Nigeria in Abuja, presided over by Hon. Justice A. R Mohammed, on the 10th of June 2015, dismissed the said case.
Kwalowei quoted Justice Mohammed as saying, in the certified true copy of the judgement, that “the charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/167/13 filed before this Court amounted to an abuse of Court process and the same is accordingly dismissed.”
While urging the media to always do due diligence and ensure a balanced news report, the South-South group warned against further attacks by “misguided media organisations.”
The group declared: “The forum is using this medium to warn against further attacks against the person of Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, especially by Sahara Reporters. We make bold to say that we will not hesitate to drag the medium or any other one before the Court of law if such unverified news is published.”