Yobe State Governor, Alhaji Mai-Mala Ibrahim on Wednesday alleged that the reported story that 155 people were killed by COVID-19 was nothing but junk journalism and blackmail by the media.
The governor was also accused of not settling down in his state for what he was elected to do but always staying in Abuja.
Reacting to the two reports by Sahara Reporters, an online medium, Buni said the medium is on the “path of junk journalism.”
A statement signed by the spokesman of the governor, Mallam Mamman Ibrahim titled: “The Serial Lies against Yobe State by Sahara Reporters,” alleged that unsubstantiated reports were published by the online media to blackmail Yobe State Government.
The statement read: “It is now obvious that the Online publication “Sahara Reporters” has a hidden mission to deliberately cause disaffection between the government and good people of Yobe state through serial lies, baseless concoctions, mischievous and ridiculous fabrications.
“Just recently, Sahara Reporters shamelessly published a feebled and inexcusable figment of its imagination condemning vehicles purchased by the state government for traditional rulers, alleging that schools were left unattended, while they have at no time been close to Yobe state.”
It said: “It is most disgusting, misleading, completely inaccurate and professionally reckless to manufacture figures of said deaths in the state and dish it out for public consumption without any authoritative source either from the hospitals, police, relatives of deceased persons or even Cemetry attendants.
“Similarly, the claim that His Excellency Hon. Mai Mala Buni was out of the state when his people are dying, was a deliberate lie orchestrated to give the governor a bad name.
“For the records, since the report on the outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria about two months ago, His Excellency Governor Mai Mala Buni was only in Abuja recently for just three days on the invitation of President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss security issues. He had remained in the state with his people supervising prevention measures to curb possible spread of the scourge.”
It further said: “As a government, we challenged Sahara Reporters to come to Yobe state and visit our schools and see the transformation that has taken place under the state of emergency programme declared on education by the Governor Mai Mala Buni administration.
“We equally challenged Sahara Reporters on its unprofessional and unethical modus operandi where unsubstantiated stories are written without attribution to sources in all its publications against the state. The basic rule of fair hearing and balancing seem to be alien to the Sahara Reporters journalism.
“If outright blackmail remains the only style of its journalism, this administration will not succumb to cheap blackmail but will remain focused to its mandate of serving the people better.
“It is also glaring that Sahara Reporters has unfortunately taken the path of junk journalism and is already being judged negatively in the peoples’ court as evidenced by comments from people of the state and those who follow events in the state.”