The government of Niger state has dismissed reports of arrest of a journalist at government house as false and malicious aimed at distracting its attention from the focus on the safe rescue of abducted students in the state,
The state commissioner of information and strategy, Mohammed Sani Idris stated this Thursday while reacting reports in some media that a journalist was arrested at government house Minna early this week.
He said, “It is quite unfortunate that people can begin to spread such speculations because everybody knows our relationship with journalists in the state, right from the NUJ at the state level to all our chapels, most especially the Correspondents Chapel. We have been enjoying a very harmonious relationship. I don’t think anybody that knows Niger state will even take it when you begin to say that anybody in government could order the arrest of journalist. That is a complete lie and falsehood aimed at tarnishing the good image of the Niger state government”.
According to him, the government and journalists in the state have been working together cordially as friends and partners, adding that it is however disturbing for anyone to cook up such unsubstantiated claim of arrest by government aides when the state is going through security challenges of banditry.
While describing the report of arrest of journalist on the order of the CPS as untrue and fabricated to tarnish the image of government, the commissioner gave the through picture of what happened saying that the particular journalist entered restricted area within government house and was approached not to go further.
He said the government will however not be distracted by such falsehood in the present security challenges facing the state, adding that “How on earth do you expect us as a responsible government to pay heed to any distraction? We don’t have time to be distracted because someone decides to spread malicious piece of news”
He advised Nongovernmental Organizations and Human Rights activist to always verify stories before acting on them adding that a situation where they picked trash from the streets without ascertaining the facts or truth of such stories could lead to libel suits.
“It is unfortunate for some people to call on government to investigate the CPS. She should be investigated for what? Just because someone has decided to develop his own thinking about the CPS is not enough reason why anybody will begin to bamboos us to investigate her”, he said.