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April 17, 2021

My News on Point

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Saturday asked Sahara Reporters to retract and apologise for its story accusing Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State of demanding bribe over the settlement of N159 billion judgment debts concerning Paris Club refunds.

PREMIUM TIMES had, in an exclusive comprehensive report on the indebtedness, revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and two other ministers, are scrambling to hurriedly disburse the payments to six individuals and entities said to be owed the humongous debts by states and local governments.

This newspaper’s report also showed that Mr Fayemi-led NGF is against the settlement, and has demanded a suspension of moves to pay the purported creditors until a probe into the legitimacy of the entire indebtedness is carried out.

But Sahara Reporters had in a follow-up to the PREMIUM TIMES’ story reported that Mr Fayemi demanded 10 per cent of the N159 billion as kickback for the creditors to be paid.

Reacting to Sahara Reporter’s story on Saturday, the NGF through its Head, Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, described it as “untrue, malicious and libelous”.

Mr Bello-Barkindo said “the NGF would not want to join issues with Sahara Reporters other than to demand a total retraction of this mischievous, untrue and fake news within 24 hours.”

Read the statement in full:

UNTRUE, MALICIOUS AND LIBELLOUS ALLEGATION AGAINST THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM AND ITS CHAIRMAN, DR. JOHN KAYODE FAYEMI

The attention of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has been drawn to a publication on the Sahara Reporters online newspaper marked as an “Exclusive” news item dated March 26, 2021 alleging that the Chairman of the Forum, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi “demanded 10% of the N159 billion Refund to Paris Club Contractors As Kickback”.

Ordinarily, this salacious and sensational gossip would have been ignored but we know that it is intended to mislead the innocent reader and coax them into believing these lies from the pits of hell and we know that leaving them unchallenged would be catastrophic, apart from also assuming a life of its own.

So, because of this, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum refuses to engage with Sahara Reporters at the deep abyss that it has taken the noble profession of Journalism to and will not join issues at all.

However, the NGF demands a total retraction of this mischievous, untrue and fake news within 24 hours, with an apology published by your news site. In the event that Sahara Reporters fails, neglects or omits to follow these steps, the NGF will be left with no other option than to seek redress in a court of law.

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While looking forward to an immediate response from your publication, please accept the assurances of our highest regards.

Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo
Head, Media and Public Affairs
Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat

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