By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
A civil society group, Pro-Impact Initiative has raised alarm over what it termed, “Calculated attempts to blackmail top Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) officials and derail Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Barr Nyesom Wike from repositioning Abuja.”
The group pointed out that in less then two weeks, over “three fabricated falsehoods” against key officials of the FCT administration has circulated widely on the social media with calls on the FCT to take actions based on the false and fake reports.
The Coordinator of the group, Dr Osamudiamen Isokpehi who briefed journalists over the weekend in Abuja, said, ”if those behind these acts are not traced, arrested and brought to justice, these criminals may go to any length to jeopardize the smooth administration of the FCT”
Dr. Isokpehi noted, “ First it was a fabricated lie against some directors over a disputed land in Guzape District. A statement credited to nobody was circulated online, calling for their sack by the FCT Minister and quoting “Undisclosed sources”. It was discovered that the original documents of land was stolen from the owner and sold to someone who wanted to continue keeping the land even after the owner discovered the theft and unapproved sale.
“Secondly the blackmailers went after the Permanent Secretary, Mr Olusade Adesola by issuing a write up titled, “WHY FCT PERM SEC MUST BE SACKED AND ARRESTED NOW” credited to one ‘faceless’ Babalola Tajudeen calling on the minister to sack the Permanent Secretary of the FCT Administration. The allegations of over bloating the workforce, awarding multi-billion Naira contracts and others were discovered to be completely false and misleading.
“Thirdly, on Friday 9th, September while the FCTA officials were preparing for Tuesday’s swearing in of Mandate Secretaries by the ministers, a notorious nine paragraph write up credited to nobody was pushed into the social media lying that the minister had written to EFCC and ICPC asking them to invite and probe his predecessor, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello for alleged contract variation fraud and other unfounded falsehoods. Unlike the previous two fake news, the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike this time, issued a clear-worded press statement from his office debunking it as a lie”.
Dr. Isokpehi said, “ we are convinced that Mr Wike who is also a victim of numerous fake news on social media and twisted news in the conventional media, won’t work with the report of the blackmailers. These same people, we can tell you plainly, would be the first to attack Mr Wike when he leaves office.
“Though one might not know the entire motives of these faceless satanic characters, two thing are certain; they want witch-hunt FCT top officials and derail the minister from focusing on repositioning the city for general good.
“While we call on these characters to desist from such acts and let the FCTA breathe, we also call on the Nigerian Police to mandate its anti-cyber crime department to trace and arrest these agents of fake news who are currently directing their attacks at FCT administration’s top officials”
Dr. Isokpehi appealed to residents of the FCT and Nigerians not to be quick at sharing fake and unverified news items. He expressed worry that, “a statement typed on a plain sheet of paper, no letter head, signed by nobody and credited to nobody would be believed and widely shared, thus making falsehood looks exactly like the truth”.
He commended Wike for his proactiveness in administering Abuja he appealed to the staff to give him all the needed support to succeed.