Publisher of the online news platform, WikkiTimes, (wikkitimes.com) Mr. Haruna Mohammed Salisu, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police over an alleged threat to his life, criminal intimidation, harassment, invasion of privacy and conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace, which he claimed were perpetrated against him by Mr. Yakubu Dogara, a former speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives.
Haruna, in the petition, requested the assistance of the IGP to order a thorough investigation into the matter and to instruct Mr. Dogara to sign an undertaking that no harm will befall the publisher or members of his family.
He also sought the IGP’s protection with a view to preventing the unknown men from carrying out their sinister plans, promising to cooperate with the IGP and offer or present any information or document that he might require in the course of the investigation.
The petition which was sent on his behalf by his counsel, Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, Principal Partner at MON Legal recalling the facts of the matter, said the Haruna published an investigative report tiled- Investigation: “How Yakubu Dogara, UBEC Squandered N1 Billion Model School Projects” Mr. Dogara and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) squandered N1 billion naira meant for the constructions of model schools across Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa LGAs, that makes up the federal constituency Mr Dogara represents at the National Assembly.
Mojirayo said the well investigated and detailed report captured the entirety of Haruna’s research on the subject which exposed facts of the non-accountability, non-transparency and the abandonment of a UBEC funded projects in Bauchi State.
The petition complained that following the publication, Haruna informed her chamber that precisely on the June 29, 2021, he received a call from his younger brother at about 3:27 pm, who told him that some three men visited their house with Peugeot 406, whose number plate was covered. That they asked for Haruna’s whereabouts and when informed that he had travelled, they asked him if he was aware of a ‘damaging story’ published on Mr. Yakubu Dogara and he told them that he was not aware of the story.
She said the publisher has further received distressing calls suggesting he withdraws the publication and back-down from subsequent publication on Yakubu Dogara – an omen that has distracted him and made him really afraid for his life. That Haruna said at the moment he is unable to return to Bauchi because he is afraid knowing that Mr. Dogara is a highly placed individual in Nigeria whereas he is of lesser status and can easily be removed from the system.
She said while Haruna was attending a training with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR. He informed us that based on his experience and the knowledge of the consistent attacks on media practitioners in Nigeria, he decided to go into hiding to protect himself from all forms of harassment and assault and in the worst case, as has been frequently reported of the cases involving journalists in Nigeria, disappearance.