The presidency has accused the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore of telling lies against late Malam Isma’ila Isa Funtua who died yesterday over his role in his arrest and detention by the Department of State Security (DSS) recently.
In a statement today, July 21, senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Malam Garba Shehu said that late Isa Funtua on his own, called him (Garba Shehu) to ask that he broker a meeting with him and two others with the SSS, which they agreed to.
“First, it is important to state that the meeting was not instructed by the government. Nobody sent anybody to go and “negotiate” Sowore’s freedom as he put it.
“It is important that I state that it was the force of Malam Isma’ila’s argument that made the meeting possible. “Vanguard Newspapers publisher, Sam Amuka and ThisDay Publisher and President, Nigerian Press Organisation, Nduka Obaigbena, all agreed that Sowore was a “rascal”, who had used his newspaper “to abuse all of us,” but agreed, nonetheless to go and press for his release.
“As the late Isma’ila put it, although he (Sowore) got into his problems due to politics, not journalism, the fact of him being a publisher imposed a duty on the media leaders to seek ways of making free.”
Garba Shehu said that the meeting ended well, and that contrary to the posturing by Sowore, he said he was happy with a resolution proposed but that his lawyer needed to come on board.
“The fence mending process, apparently collapsed after the the meeting of the trio with the lawyer in Lagos.
“I don’t know what Sowore wants to achieve by distorting the facts of what transpired, but my advice to him is that he should stop his attacks on a dead, well-meaning intercessor.
“Knowing the way the secret service works, it should surprise no one if they keep a recording of that meeting. “Faced with this posturing and the unfair attacks on the dead, we certainly will be forced to ask for the release of tapes, in case they are available for the public to judge.”