Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has dismissed as laughable, malicious, mischievous and a figment of the writer’s imagination, a story credited to an online media outfit, MegaNews, alleging that he was recently duped of the sum of five billion in Dubai in an attempt to buy property there.
Reacting to the allegation, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Mark Longyen, in a statement on Monday, described the story as a “mere piece of thrash and sheer balderdash that should at best be pooh-poohed with a wave of the hand and consigned to the dustbin of oblivion or simply ignored by reasonable people.”
The Governor’s Spokesman stressed that “ordinarily, the Governor would have ignored such gargantuan and malicious falsehood which, if read between the lines, is clearly the handwork of his detractors and opposition political elements desperate to paint him black, but has chosen to respond to it in order not to give traction and credibility to such brazen falsehood and to clear the air for the sake of some gullible members of the public, who might innocently swallow this bait hook, line and sinker.”
Longyen warned that running an obscure online media outfit like Meganews was not a cover or outright licence for the said medium and opposition political elements to hide under it and conspire to attack and malign the reputation of a serving Governor, adding that such defamatory and libellous stories carry legal consequences, which the culprits may soon face.
“The Governor, therefore, denies this wanton, malicious and mischievous report in its entirety and challenges the authors of the story to produce and publish documentary evidence, if any, from the records of their investigation and show proof as to when and where the five billion naira Dubai property transaction took place, which bank was used, as well as all the parties involved, failing which they will face the music as relevant security agencies will be called in to investigate the source of the story,” Longyen said.
The Governor’s media aide noted that the online platform’s allegation that the Governor lost the whopping sum of N5billion of public funds to fraudsters, “according to the information being discussed openly in public centres, and the said amount was intended for the procurement of choice property for the Governor in Dubai,” was most ridiculous and laughable and indeed the worst kind of armchair journalism, lacking in credibility, objectivity, balance and fairness, which are the basic ethical tenets or requirements for what can be passed as a story.
The statement further wondered what kind of a professional journalist would credit the source of his story to information he/she claimed to have only picked “from an open discussion at a public centre,” if the author is not a quack and a harbinger of a hatched job aimed mainly to impugn the integrity of the governor and bring him to disrepute.
He, therefore, admonished the general public to beware and not fall victims of such malicious reports emanating from such unregulated online media outfits that may be sponsored and disseminated by past government officials who are being investigated for corruption, whose sinister motive is to take the state back to the dark days of its recent past that was characterised by wanton corruption, intermittent chaos, conflicts and crises.
SSA To The Executive Governor on Media and Publicity.