Despite the efforts of resident journalists in Bauchi state to remain objective in their reports and analysis of events, a group of hoodlums suspected to be sympathetic to the ambition of an Abuja based political neophyte touting himself as a 2015 gubernatorial aspirant, has started over heating the polity by sending threatening text messages to selected journalists and publishers considered as being too objective in a bid to induce fear into them and do the opposite against the ethics of the profession.
In one of such threat text messages sent to the publisher of a Lagos based weekly tabloid, The Mail News, Mr. Collins Igbokwe, it was stated that, “Mr. editor, I hope u know what u are doing, don’t allow anybody to use ur medium for evil, we handle them when d times comes, be careful”.
The text message, suspected to have originated from a politically sponsored group of miscreants by an Abuja based political neophyte who is said to have embarked on the recruitment of miscreants and other vandals as he warms his way to the 2015 gubernatorial race, was received by the publisher penultimate Tuesday, September 25, 2012.
Observers posit that the text message must be connected to an interview granted the weekly publication by Yakubu Alhaji Jibrin, secretary-general of an Abuja based NGO, National Congress for Democrats that is in the fore-front for the call of a sack and probe of the serving FCT Minister, Senator Bala Muhammed for what the NGO alleges as poor service delivery to the FCT as well as glaring corrupt practices bedeviling the FCDA.
Responding to the text message, Collin Igbokwe said, “The coward who sent the message hid his GSM number for fear of any reprisal action. I have already alerted security agencies and we are working assiduously to fish out the culprit who must be a miscreant. Such hooligans are not supposed to enjoy any air of freedom”.
When contacted for his comments on the threatening text message, Yakubu Alhaji Jibrin opined that, “Journalists are like soldiers in battle field. No amount of threat should discourage them from publishing the truth no matter how bitter. The threatening text is a way some miscreants want to show solidarity to their pay master. But let them know that nobody has monopoly of violence. Anybody can decide to go violent and disrupt the peace. We are equal to the task and we are working assiduously to see that our request is honored by the president. We are not deterred by any threat. If anybody has the guts or is bold enough, let him come out to either debunk our allegations or meet us one on one to see who smiles last. We cannot be intimidated neither threatened by hungry hoodlums”.
Meanwhile, according to the publisher, the text message has been sent to the relevant security agencies for subsequent action through the service providers who are expected to identify the sender and bring him to justice.