The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki has accused online medium, Sahara Reporters and its publisher, Omoyele Sowore of being obsessed with desire to lie against him.
In a statement issued by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Saraki, Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said that medium has commited so many libellous offences.
Saraki said it is from that prism of the obsession that he viewed the recent story that accusing him (Saraki) of collecting and laundering funds related to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) from the so-called Paris Club Fund refund.
“Sowore as usual is merely creating fiction and quoting faceless, non-existent sources in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) without providing any document or stating any fact to support his claim.
“This is sheer blackmail and character assassination.
“This time he was talking of the Senate President “grabbing N3.5 billion” from the NGF fund.
“We challenge Sowore and his sponsors to produce evidence of payment of N3.5 billion to Saraki within the next 24 hours.
“Sowore has consistently engaged in this game of defaming Saraki since the election of the Senate President on June 9, 2015 believing that he and his sponsors will through lies, mischief and libellous publications bring Saraki down in a matter of days.
“We recall how at the commencement of the case on Asset Declaration at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, he was reeling out lies which the proceedings in the CCT have since proved to be untrue.
“As at yesterday, the key Prosecution Witness from the Code Of Conduct Bureau has admitted that in September 2015 when they filed the case against Saraki, there was no evidence against him.
“We recall that this same Sowore had alleged that Saraki bribed a former Chief Justice of Nigeria to influence the CCT case.
“This has since proved to be a lie that cannot be supported by any fact. Later, he shifted his bribery allegation to the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice who he claimed was induced to withdraw the CCT case.
“This has since been proved to be another bare-faced lie. He later alleged that the Senate President had influenced the verdict of a judgement at the Court of Appeal which was then arrested. That was another fabrication not supported by any fact. Other areas where he had concocted lies against Saraki was the allegation that the Senate President was involved in the Sambo Dasuki fund saga. That was another lie. Again, when there was a robbery incident involving money owned by a Bureau de Change, Sahara Reporters claimed Saraki owned the money. This has been proved to be a big lie. Just as this claim of N3.5bn payment by NGF has not been supported by any fact,” he said.
He said that it was wrong for the Sahara Reporters Publisher to be brandishing lies against him and getting away with them.
Olaniyonu said that journalism practice was about truth, objectivity and strong ethics: he therefore claimed that Sahara Reporters was not practicing Journalism but outright blackmail.
“He goes after those not ready to pay his price. That is why he has continued to live beyond his legitimate means. We are set to expose his game and let people see him for what he is.
“It should be known that there is nothing that depicts corruption more than the circulation of falsehood and engaging in the game of blackmail.
“It is our plan to employ all lawful means to protect the integrity and reputation of Dr. Saraki, including exposing the antics of this man who pretend to be acting in public interest.
“We therefore call on all members of the public to ignore and disregard the claims contained in Sahara Reporters stories concerning Saraki and the N 3.5 billion NGF Paris Club fund.
“The Senate President has absolutely nothing to do with any transfer or repayment of money by the NGF,” he said.
He added that the report was just a figment of the imagination of the publisher of the online medium.