Following renewed threats to his life, the publisher of DAILY NIGERIAN, Jaafar Jaafar, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, saying that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State should be held responsible if anything happens to him.
In October 2018, this newspaper had published video clips showing the governor pocketing bundles of dollar notes believed to be kickbacks from contractors handling various projects awarded by the state government.
The governor had since denied the videos, describing them as cloned.
But in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service on Friday, March 19, Mr Ganduje disclosed that the state government was making plans to deal with those behind the videos.
In the face of the renewed threats, Mr Jaafar, through his counsel, Barrister Abdullahi Gumel, wrote to the IGP, intimating him that the governor and his supporters were planning to harm the publisher.
Part of the petition reads: “That our client (Jaafar Jaafar) has de facto been made persona non-grata in his home state and lives in perpetual fear in the rest of the country including Abuja. Thus, he and his family have essentially been hiding for fear of their lives.
“As if the above was not enough, Mr Ganduje recently indicated that he and his supporters are scheming underground to “deal with” our client. Ganduje made this statement on a popular BBC Hausa program “A Fada A Cika” which aired on the 19th March 2021. He insisted that he would not reveal their plans despite an opportunity to clarify what he meant.
“It is our clients’ and our firm belief that by the above statement, Ganduje clearly said that he and his supporters are scheming to harm our client. This is also an approval or ratification of his supporters past stalking, harassment and threats to our client.
“Importantly, Ganduje is by this statement instigating, inciting, aiding, abetting and procuring his supporters (especially those he is working secretly with) to harm our client, his family and property. This has caused our client unprecedented fear of violence and has alarmed and distressed him.
“Sir, the above facts must be seen in the contest of the fact that Mr Ganduje, being a sitting Governor and member of the ruling party, is one of the most powerful politicians in Nigeria.
“He has thousands of diehard supporters, including those directly and indirectly employed by him. Thus, his words carry weight in the minds of thousands of supporters across Nigeria who may be incited to attack our client.
“Sir, we believe you will agree with us that journalism and whistleblowing are not a crime. It is our clients’ belief that the footages they published, which they firmly stand to this day, are genuine and the accompanying stories are truthful and fair account of the circumstances surrounding the footages.
“It worthy of note that Mr Ganduje has instituted an action for defamation which are client is vehemently and successfully defending in court. However, Mr Ganduje has apparently lost faith in the merit of his suit, hence, this unground planning that he said he is orchestrating.
“It is against this backdrop that we write to you urging you intervene to: (a) investigate what Mr Ganduje is scheming, with whom and how and halt same; (b) protect our clients from further harm, threats and harassment from Ganduje and his supporters; and (c) get Mr Ganduje to issue a statement calling on his supporters and cronies to stop threatening and harassing our clients.
“Sir, we are aware that Ganduje is a sitting governor and a member of the ruling party, but our clients hope that you will not let this inhibit your ability to handle his complaint professionally, diligently and speedily.
“In view of the forgoing, the governor should be held responsible if anything happened to our client.”