Publisher of Daily Nigerian, the online medium that released Kano State Governor Abdullahi Ganduje’s controversial bribe videos, Jafaar Jafaar, has urged the anti-corruption agencies to take legal action against the governor as a proof of the impartiality of the war against corruption. Jafaar stated this in an interview with THISDAY.
The Abuja-based journalist said the videos, which appear to show Ganduje, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as Buhari, collecting bribes from contractors, was a litmus test for the federal government and APC.
He said, “This is a litmus test. If the APC government, the government that has been preaching the gospel of anti-corruption, preaching the gospel of sincerity, preaching the gospel of equality, fails to do anything about something of this magnitude, then the fight against corruption is just a ruse. He stated that Ganduje should be punished to serve as deterrent other Governors who in the habit of collecting bribes from contractors.
“As a responsible administration that is fighting against corruption, he should also at the top institute another independent (investigative) panel to find out the truth in this matter.”
Jafaar, who spoke from a safe house following alleged threat to his life, said his decision to release the videos was driven by patriotic causes.
According to him, “I was driven by two things, really. As a journalist – every journalist will like to have some good reports (exclusives or scoops) that will grab international attention. That’s one. Another point is that the videos can go a long way in providing sanity to our system – especially to the governors collecting kickbacks.
“Because they have seen the embarrassment videos have caused their colleagues, they will think twice and hard before doing anything unseemly. I think the story will serve as a deterrent and make the society better. This should make the governors stop collecting kickbacks or reduce their frequency of collecting kickbacks.”
Jaafar said though his life was in danger due to the bribe story he broke, he would publish such a story again of he had another opportunity.
He stated, “No matter what I am being offered in exchange for the story, I will not collect it. Even if the Kano State governor gives me his seat as a governor and says, ‘Come and become governor of Kano State but don’t publish those videos of me collecting bribes,’ I will rather publish the videos than become the governor of Kano State.
“I want people to know that the videos were published in good faith – for the good of the society. If you asked him to give you the $5 million he collected in the videos, he would give you back instead of have you publish the videos.”
Jaafar, however, expressed his appreciation to the federal government for the security cover given him when he appeared before an investigative panel set up by the Kano State House of Assembly on the matter. “I would have been attacked on the way. From the top, the IG gave orders that my safety should be ensured before, during and after my presentation before the Kano State House of Assembly. We were escorted from the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport to the Assembly complex – about 10 police vehicles – three Assistant Commissioners of Police were there to escort me to the Assembly. They also gave me the same security all the way back to the airport. They did not leave the airport until my flight took off. This is really commendable and I see some level of commitment towards ensuring that journalists are protected,” Jafaar stated.