The Unedited Press Statement:
RE-NOBODY HERE CAN HANDLE GUN BETTER THAN ME. I WILL DEAL WITH ANYONE MURMURING ABOUT MY ADMINISTRATION.
1. Our attention has been drawn to a false and defamatory statement credited to the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello in which he was falsely and maliciously quoted to have threatened anyone ‘murmuring about’ his ‘administration’ as a news item purportedly transcribed from a video also published by Sahara Reporters on its verified social handles on Tuesday September 6, 2022. Other social media ‘news’ outlets have since joined in publishing this fake story.
2. While such fake publications are now customary of Sahara Reporters and would not ordinarily require a response, it is important that it is on record that the false statement is unequivocally denied, yet again, particularly for the sake of those who still harbour any iota of belief that Sahara Reporters and its owners and handlers possess any iota of credibility.
3. Let us quickly state that the Governor did not make any such statement about his proficiency in the use of firearms or threaten to use same against those who murmur against his administration in the video under reference or anywhere else. While his Excellency talks tough against crimes and criminality as the chief security officer of Kogi State, He did not and will not engage in personal threat of violence against anyone. He is also neither a security agent with training in firearms handling nor a mugger.
4. The statement allegedly transcribed from the video and used as a headline is totally the figment of the imagination of those behind Sahara Reporters. We urge Nigerians to dismiss the report including the subtitle in the video as false, spurious, defamatory, malicious and irresponsibly reckless.
5. To this end, we call on Sahara Reporters to immediately withdraw the statement and apologize to the Governor and the Government of Kogi State within the next seven days. Should Sahara Reporters fail, refuse and or neglect to heed this call, we shall proceed against it both criminally and in the civil Courts.
6. We also call on other social media ‘news’ outlets that have on their platforms also published this fake story to forthwith withdraw same and apologize as they are as equally as liable and or culpable as Sahara Reporters which originally published same.
7. The Government of Kogi State has remained most committed to the security of lives and property of its citizens and those of other Nigerians and will continue to fight against violence and criminality. Crime and thuggery have no place in Kogi State under the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello.
8. While as a Government, we continue to respect the media and promote the freedom of the people to be informed, we totally abhor injurious falsehood capable of causing a breakdown of law and order. While our partnership with the media as partners in progress is unimpeachable and glaring for all to see, we call on the media not to set the nation ablaze with irresponsible and false reports to incite the public to civil disturbances.
Kogi State Commissioner for Information and Communications