In separate letters, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), through the SA Media to the FCT Minister, Nosike Ogbuenyi has lodged strong protests with the NUJ, NGE, NPC and NPAN against the publisher of Desert Herald weekly magazine over sundry professional misconduct including attempted blackmail and extortion. Below is one of the petitions which was addressed to the NUJ national president:
Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ),
COMPLAINT OVER PERPETRATION OF BLACKMAIL, EXTORTION, DEFAMATION AND LIBEL BY ONE MALLAM TUKUR MAMU, THE PUBLISHER OF DESERT HERALD MAGAZINE AGAINST THE HON. MINISTER OF FCT, SENATOR BALA MOHAMMED.
I write on behalf of the Hon. Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed,CON, FABS to draw your esteemed attention to the unprofessional conduct of one Mallam Tukur Mamu, the publisher of Kaduna based Desert Herald magazine. Mallam Mamu has been serially indulging in acts of blackmail, extortion, defamation and libel against the person of the Hon. Minister through several advertorials, stories and interviews in at least four successive editions of the Desert Herald magazine. He has also granted many exclusive interviews to the Leadership Newspaper one of which was published on June 6, 2013 spanning two full pages.
Following his serial blackmail, defamation and libel against the person of the Hon. Minister and the FCT Administration, we feel duty bound to alert you as a highly placed stakeholder in our noble profession of journalism with the hope that you will take steps to call him to order.
In pursuit of his own strange brand of journalism, Mamu seems to have thrown decorum and the ethics of the journalism profession to the dogs. From nowhere, he came up with a banner advertorial on the front page of the Desert Herald edition of May 14th 2013 announcing to the general public that he had virtually concluded work on a 284-page book detailing what he described as the rot within the FCT Administration under the incumbent Minister. In the promo he ran on the so-called book, he called the Hon. Minister a sick, incompetent and corrupt person among others while inviting all and sundry to post their contributions to what he claimed to be the last chapter of the book.
We view Mallam Mamu as a professional blackmailer and extortionist whose stock in trade is moving from one highly placed public office holder to another with cleverly woven tales of non-existent corruption and scandals. His ultimate aim in doing so is to create anxiety and panic in the minds of his target victims before pouncing on them to extort huge sums of money.
In the current case of the FCTA, Mamu made a well chronicled attempt to blackmail and extort N15 million from the FCT Minister through my humble self (the SA Media to the Hon. Minister). Mamu’s escapade however, back-fired on him as the telephone conversation he had with me on Wednesday 15th June, 2013 was recorded. It was after the recorded conversation that he sent two text messages to my phone asking for payment of the sum of N15 million Naira (as a condition for him to discard his book) and forwarding his account number with First Bank Plc for the payment.
Sir, it is the Hon. Minister’s belief that through his nefarious activities including extortion, Tukur Mamu has caused needless distraction to many innocent Nigerians and has brought the noble profession of journalism into disrepute. Therefore, the Hon. Minister has no regret in refusing to flout the rules and ethics of the journalism profession by bribing such a daring extortionist and blackmailer via the payment of the sum of N15 million he had demanded to kill his make-believe book on his imaginary rot within the FCTA. FOR EMPHASIS, SIR, SENATOR BALA ABDULKADIR MOHAMMED, THE HON. MINISTER OF FCT HAS VOWED NEVER TO SUCCUMB TO PAY ANY EXTORTIONIST AND BLACKMAILER AS THE LIKES OF MAMU WOULD WANT HIM TO DO.
The Hon. Minister believes that doing so would be a great disservice not only to the noble profession of journalism that he is a proud member of, but also help in energizing the cankerworm of extortion and blackmail to continue to spread and flourish in our society. The Hon. Minister equally believes that bowing to the cajolery of Mamu and his cohorts will not be pleasing to Almighty Allah, the Creator who watches over every action of all mortals. He would rather choose to please God and suffer distractions and attacks from mischief makers and the gullible than do the biddings of (the) Mamus of this world and their gang of rogues masquerading as journalists or publishers.
The Hon. Minister holds you and your members in high esteem as professionals who will at all time stand firmly for high ethical and moral standards, balance, objectivity and fairness in the journalism practice. It is his strong belief that there still abound many credible journalists in the country who hold on to the ethics of the profession.
Notwithstanding the fact that the Hon. Minister has declared his intention to seek redress in a court of competent jurisdiction, he believes that the Nigeria Union of Journalists, as custodians of the ethics of the profession cannot fold its hands while impostors and blackmailers like Tukur Mamu continue to dent the image of the profession. He therefore requests that you use your good offices to investigate the antecedents of Mamu and his activities as a serial blackmailer with a view to placing a disclaimer on him.
Please note that we have enclosed a copy of the letter of intent to sue Mallam Mamu, including transcript, as well as a CD of his telephone conversation with me during which he demanded for compensation to drop the story.
Thanks in anticipation of your speedy response to this petition.
Special Assistant (Media) to the Hon. Minister of FCT.