… Warns against insults on SGF

From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

The All Progressives Congress, (APC), Stakeholders in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, (LGA), have condemned, strongly, the arrest and continued detention of the Member representing Katsina-Ala East Constituency, Mr Jonathan Agbidyeh, by the Department of State Services, DSS.

According to them Agbidyeh was arrested on March 18, 2024, at about 2 pm, and until the time they spoke with newsmen on Sunday, March 24, 2024, the agency has not disclosed their reason for his arrested.

Briefing newsmen in Makurdi on Sunday, the stakeholders, therefore, frowned at a “misleading and mischievous report” by an online publication “The Nigerian Concord”, concluding that he was arrested for being responsible for the killings and other atrocities in Sankara area of the state and also alluding the involvement of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Sen. George Akume, in the matter.

Spokesman of the group, Mr Fanen Ihyongo, regretted the two publications by the Nigerian Concord Newspaper, on March 18, 2024, with the headline:”Sankera Killings: Akume moves to free detained Benue lawmaker from DSS” net” and the second report,“Why is SGF Akume protecting Agbidyeh, a man accused of Sankera crimes,” which was published on March 19, 2024.

The stakeholders said the online publication showed bias, mendacious propaganda and damaging fictions, with the intention to slander Mr Agbidyeh and the SGF describing it as a hatchet job by the medium, sponsored by political enemies.

“Journalism entails public trust, therefore, it is morally imperative for a journalist, as a purveyor of information, to always diligently observe in his reportage the cornerstones of journalism ethics, which include truth, accuracy, fairness, objectivity and balance. In its reports, which did not carry bylines (reporter’s name), Concord Newspaper showed nothing but

“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered about these reports, However, to set the records straight, we are here to debunk the mischievous reports by Concord and offer clarification to those who don’t know what is going on and those who may wish to know.

“In its March 19, 2024 report, Concord claimed that “a pressure group known as the Concerned Shitile Movement for Peace, in a press statement signed by Tordonga T. and Igbazenda Michihe, Chairman and Secretary respectively, appealed to Senator George Akume to allow justice prevail in the case of Agbidyeh.”

“Truth is that no group exists as “Concerned Shitile Movement for Peace” in Shitile land. The names Tordonga T. and Igbazenda Michihe, mentioned in the report as Chairman and Secretary of the group who signed the purported press statement are fake.

“Tor Donga is the name of the market in the headquarters of Shitile constituency, while Michihe is the name of the council ward where Agbidyeh comes from. In fact, the name Michihe was gotten from a stream in that area.

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“We are fully aware that Rt Hon. Jonathan Agbidyeh, was on Monday March 18, 2024, around 2: 00pm Nigerian time, arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS). However, the agency has not disclosed their reasons for arresting him.

“It is a surprise that Concord has already passed judgment and is reporting authoritatively that Agbidyeh is being detained “for his direct involvement in the killings, kidnapping and gun running in Sankera axis of Benue state.”

The universal declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states that “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.”

“The publication of March 19, 2024 by Concord also pronounced Akume guilty, according to its publishers, of “aiding and abetting in crimes.” We wish to state that Senator Akume and Hon Agbidyeh are our leaders and those reports are intended to tarnish their reputation.

“Therefore, we give Nigerian Concord Newspaper 24 hours, from now, to retract the mischievous reports and apologize to Sen. George Akume and Rt Hon Jonathan Agbidyeh. We shall not hesitate to instruct our lawyers to institute legal actions, if the newspaper fails to do so.

“It is true that Hon Agbidyeh was at sometime in the past accused of being behind the crimes in Sankera. The arrest followed petitions written against him by his political foes. However, it should be noted that he was tried at the high court in Makurdi and discharged acquitted.

“The Certified True Copies of the proceedings and judgment are there as proofs that all the charges against Agbidyeh were dropped, as he was not found guilty of the charges.

“We wish to inform the DSS and all security agencies as well as the general public that what is happening to Hon Agbidyeh is a frame-up through series of onslaughts orchestrated by his political enemies within and outside the APC. Their curious intention is to remove him from the State House of Assembly.

“It is worthy of mention that it was the same group that stopped Agbidyeh, who is the highest ranking officer in the State Assembly, from becoming the Majority Leader of the House. Reason, Simply because he is a strong loyalist of the SGF.

“Publishers of Concord and their paymasters should stop dragging the name of the SGF into the murky waters of their political fight against Hon Agbidyeh.

“The chronic insecurity in Sankera is a source of worry to all of us here, including the Assembly member and the SGF,” they said.

The spokesman was accompanied by Former Chairman, Katsina Ala LG Council and Leader of the APC stakeholders, Katsina Ala, Hon. Martins Agir, former APC Chairman, Katsina Ala LG chapter, Hon. Joseph Awuah, former SA to Benue State Governor, Hon. Msughve Ayua, former SA to Benue State Governor, Hon. Mathew Abur Anshura, among other stakeholders including Terver Shaakaa Kwaghfan Malu and Sir Kondom Francis.