How Journalists Allegedly Collected N2m Bribe From Saraki To Skew Stories In His Interest
A group of journalists, particularly from major newspapers in the country who parade themselves as “special reporters” and “select newsmen”, a little over two weeks ago solicited and collected a N2 million bribe from the newly elected Senate President, Bukola Saraki, with the intent of laundering his image in the media.
The front line journalists who allegedly championed the extortion scheme for the “special reporters” are: Sunday Aborisade of the Punch Newspaper and Henry Umoru of Vanguard.
Even worrisome is the fact that these journalists, numbering eight have constituted themselves into a cabal that works in concert with the Senate President’s media team to skew their stories to suit Senator Saraki’s political interest.
Only last week, Special Adviser on Print Media to the Senate President, Chuks Okocha, graciously flaunted a bribe which he handed personally to the “special reporters” alongside a skewed press statement issued from a meeting which held between the Senate President and a delegation from the Central Bank of Nigeria led by its Governor, Godwin Emefiele, an event that was covered by the media.
Investigations revealed that the conduct of some Special Assistants on the Media team of the Senate President has emboldened the sheer arrogance displayed by these “special reporters” whose greed for monetary benefits have clogged their sense of morality and Professionalism.
Clearly determined to build upon their stash, the “special reporters” numbering eight, over two weeks ago collected a N2m bribe from the senate president for an interview whose contents were edited by the media team.
The reporters, also in their bid to curry favours from the office of the Senate President and his Media team, have resorted to extreme means towards ensuring that they create disaffection by any means necessary between Senate President Bukola Saraki of the All Progressive Congress and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu who belongs to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
Investigations further revealed that the desperate show of pretentious loyalty by the so called “special reporters” is done just so as to create crisis between the leadership of the senate, and from which they would be beneficiaries.
Last week Wednesday, The Punch’s Sunday Aborisade, one of the alleged beneficiaries of the N2m bribe, skewed a story to portray the Deputy Senate President in bad light. In the story, he had reported that the Deputy Senate President said Boko Haram had worsened under the administration of President Buhari.
Recall that other media houses had in their separate stories quoted Ekweremadu in actual context, where-in the Deputy Senate President had urged Nigerians and the International community to support President Buhari in the fight against Boko Haram.
Reacting to the development, the Special Adviser on Media to the Deputy Senate President, Uche Anichukwu, in a statement issued on Thursday, described the intent behind the story as “devious.”
He said: “The fact that out of the 75-man Senate Press Corps, representing various media houses, which were present at the function, only one medium sensationally skewed its statement out of context, while a second medium copied the same story without a byline (name of reporter), tells the whole story of a devious intent”.