Between Pointblanknews and VANGUARD newspaper: An anatomy of a smear
The attention of the Management of Pointblanknews.com has been drawn to a “news story” in Vanguard Newspaper of February 24, 2009 captioned “2 Docked for extorting £40,000.” Ordinarily, we would not have responded to the poorly written news story that tried to portray members of our news organization as blackmailers, but we found it pertinent to do so, just to put the records straight.
Pointblanknews.com is owned and operated by a team of seasoned Nigerian Journalists based in the United States who have practiced both in Nigeria and in the United States with strict professional ethics and intergrity.
The decision to publish the story of the alleged involvement of Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka-Pemu, wife of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers in the alleged killing of a 14 old year boy for ritual purposes, was borne out of our responsibilities as journalists who owe it a duty to the public to inform and educate.
Steve Chinua-Ugwu, a freelance Journalist, based in Lagos, Nigeria, and a one time Police officer, alerted us of the alleged act backed with photographs. The report was thoroughly investigated before we decided to go to press. Offering Mr. Ugwu Chinua an access to tell the story of the ritual killing cannot, and is not a breach of journalists’ code of ethics.
While we state unequivocally that Mr. Ugwu Chinua is not an employee or agent of pointblanknews.com, it smacks of dishonesty and a breach of ethics for Vanguard Newspaper to fabricate what was not in the police deposition to the court. It was never mentioned in court that Mr. Ugwu-Chinua is an agent of Pointblanknews.com.
Worst still, Vanguard took its reputation to the gutters when it alleged that principals at Pointblanknews.com tried to extort money from Sam Amuka-Pemu and his wife, Oyindamola. We are all gainfully employed residents of the United States, with high level of ethics, and have never had any contact, minimal or otherwise with the Amuka-Pemu’s family, agents or his employees.
Since we live and work in the United States, we know the seriousness of corruption and we operate by the highest ethical standard possible. It is preposterous for Vanguard Newspaper, the Amuka family to think or even imagine that we would blackmail anyone for any reason.
It is on record that we have exposed several corrupt public officers,(in and out of service), involved in cocktails of graft. We have never for once been accused of blackmail. At worst, the aggrieved sends in a rejoinder, or better still their own side of the story.
Instead of play the ostrich, Vanguard should have provided the public, answers to these gaping questions. What was Mrs Pemu doing at the ritual shrine, how did she end up in sacrificial regalia, was she forced at gun point or voodoo point to take off her Ankara clothing?
Why would Mrs. Oyindamola pay N4 Million, what was she trying to hide and why would she accept to pay more money to the “blackmailers” from her hideout in London? We are not saying she is guilty or not. As we all know, all is innocent until proven guilty.
On the part of the police, why would she be granted permission to travel abroad while facing charges of murder, why would the police fail to arrest SP Babatunde Jonathan before he absconded from Nigeria?
Because we believe in the rule of law, and due process, we urge Vanguard and its agents to allow the full process of the law. Let the court decide the authenticity of the allegations by both flanks, and reach a verdict. Until that time, we stand by our story.
Pointblanknews.com is committed to serving the public and would never be intimidated in our quest to maintain our dignity and reputation regardless of whose ox is gored!