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Saturday, July 13, 2024

On Sahara Reporters And Who Will Guard The Guardians? – By Igboeli Arinze



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Normally as mass communication students we were taught that one of the principles of journalism was balanced reporting, one based on reporting truth or facts of the matter. Thus even if a media outfit or a journalist had in her possession material damning enough to make the earth shift its position, it is pertinent that she gives the other party involved( Assuming there are two parties ) the benefit of doubt by seeking the other party’s own version of the matter.

Unfortunately, Sahara Reporters, an online medium, has sought to flip the principles of journalism upside down in her attempt to taint the images of well meaning and hardworking citizens of this great country Nigeria; citizens who have sought to build corporations and edifices worthy in name and values, through hard work.

In what a 100 level student of mass communication would cringe at, Sahara Reporters was seen showcasing the worst form of journalism when she published a one sided and misleading report titled ‘Bart Nwibe, Other Directors of SDS Accused of Plotting To Push Out Founding MD’

The article was blackmail in another name, appalling even to those who naturally had no business with SDS or the characters propped up by the article.

Asa consultant to Mr. Bart Nwibe, who is Chairman of the SDS, we immediately reviewed the article and noted the following.

  1.  The article was one sided
  2. The article had not been properly investigated, since many errors were made in the write up. For example the article claimed that the police were still investigating the matter whereas the police through ACP Nura Yakubu of the Special Fraud Unit had already finished their investigations and found no wrong doing by the Chairman of SDS Engineer Bart Nwibe or the other Directors of the Company.
  3. The article was written and edited by people not properly grounded in the Company and Allied Maters Act which is the Law guiding the corporate sector of Federal Republic of Nigeria. Otherwise how would Sahara Reporters acting as the mouthpiece of Mr. Ukpai I Ukpai or as a watchdog of society see Barth Nwibe’s membership of different companies as wrong in law, when the laws governing this great country, do not suggest otherwise. Sahara Reporters also failed to hide their bias otherwise they would have not hidden the fact that the man they claimed was being victimized, a man who had failed to discharge his duties as MD and was fired for such was also MD of a company called Hocihat at the same time he was MD of SDS!
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Thus, we immediately got the company through its secretary, Mr. S.N Oreh to do a letter stating the facts as well as providing a copy of the police report duly signed on the 5th of April.

We sent these documents to the editor through his email asking that we be given a right of reply as well as demanded a retraction of the earlier published story together with an apology. Unfortunately, as at this period, Sahara Reporters has not published a part or our entire rebuttal and has not also done a retraction of the story, despite confirming receipt of the documents via email, seven days running.

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Lest i forget, i wish to bring it to the notice of the reader, that a bribe of 10,000 Dollars had earlier been demanded of Mr. Bart Nwibe by a correspondent claiming to be working for the medium. Therefore the malicious story published on the 22nd of April is the end result of Mr. Bart Nwibe’s refusal to play ball.

[click link to see reports]

Final Police Investigation Report

Smart Drilling Services Response to On-line Publication (1)

My fellow readers would surely agree that Sahara Reporters has beaten more than it can chew. It has again raised the worrying question of philosophy in the expression Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who guards the guardians? Or who watches the watchers? This is largely against the problem of controlling the actions of persons in positions of power. In this case, Sahara Reporters has abused its power as an online medium and as society’s watchdog. It has in the perfidious article against Mr. Barth Nwibe and SDS gone against all known standards  and ethics pointers of journalism as well as acted beyond its traditional role of investigation to be both prosecutor and judge.

Worse still, it has refused to publish a rebuttal and make a retraction of the story, exhibiting superfluous hubris in a case where it is clearly in the wrong.

Permit me to say this; it is indeed a sad day for online journalism!

Igboeli Arinze writes from Abuja

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