Zaar Youth Development Association (ZAYODA), a socio-cultural group, has written what it calls a “Disclaimer” letter, claiming that its chairman did not grant an interview to WikkiTimes’ reporter, Elijah Ojonicko Akoji in his recent investigation that uncovered shoddy execution of constituency projects of Yakubu Dogara, the former speaker of House of Representatives.
Mr Iliya Emanuel, chairman of ZAYODA Tafawa Balewa branch, who signed the letter sent to the reporter and published on social media, claimed that he did not grant an interview to WikkiTimes, challenging the reporter “to provide proof of that interview.”
“For these reasons, I demand that you make available the evidence of your interview recording that may prove that you got the information you quoted to have been my statement against Rt. Hon. Dr Yakubu Dogara in your reportage, otherwise I demand you republish the report and remove the name of Mr Emmanuel Iliya and also demand that you write an unalloyed apology letter for involving Mr Emmanuel Iliya the ZAYODA chairman T/Balewa in your reportage against our representative in the National House of Assembly, leader and mentor Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara”, the letter read in part.
Iliya also demanded the reporter to present evidence of the interview he granted to him as indicated in the story within 72 hours or risk legal action.
Commenting on the letter, Haruna Mohammed Salisu, WikkiTimes’ publisher said: “When the reporter forwarded the letter sent to him by Mr Emmanuel, I just laughed. I know the reporter did not make the report up. He did his homework diligently which was thoroughly fact-checked.
“There are several pieces of evidence of the interview he had with Mr Iliya and we decided to publish just one video clip out of others to show that we did not fabricate the interview,” Haruna said.
Haruna said it was unfortunate that a dishonest person like Iliya who cannot stand for the truth is leading a youth organization.
“I think Mr Emmanuel Iliya has demonstrated that he is a vindictive freak that cannot stand for the truth. We value him as a source during the investigation, but unfortunately, he’s demonstrated that he cannot stand for the truth.
“This attempt to discredit our story by challenging us or threatening us with legal action will not work, and certainly, it will not deter us. Someone like Iliya who are not ashamed to lie in public doesn’t deserve to lead organizations like ZAYODA. And that is why we decided to publish one video clip as proof that he granted the interview that he’s now shamelessly denied”, Haruna added.
WikkTimes also recalled that its publisher and his family were threatened shortly after the investigation was published, “but no amount of intimidation and threat would stop the organisation from professional and ethical journalism”, the publisher insisted.