A former Senator, who represented Bauchi North Senatorial District in the Senate, Nazif Gamawa has threatened to institute legal action against WikkiTimes following an investigative story that detailed contract racketeering under his watch.
The report uncovered how over N41 million meant to construct two skills acquisition centres at Giade and Gamawa LGAs was unaccounted for while the projects were abandoned.
WikkiTimes had exposed how the federal government paid N20, 849,516.12 to G-Mens Supplies and Services Limited for the Gamawa project and N20,565, 640.10 to Fomat One Limited for the Giade centre on 31st December 2019 but the latter project was never executed while the former was abandoned.
Further checks by WikkiTimes revealed that the contracting firm could not be traced to the addresses they claimed to be operating from.
However, Senator Nazif Gamawa, while responding to the report through his solicitors, denied any connection with the project.
But the former lawmaker conceded to have procured land for the execution of the Gamawa project as part of his contribution towards the “empowerment of his constituents”, insisting that they were Federal Government Projects which can be cited anywhere in the country.
He disassociated himself from being a party to the contracting firms, querying WikkiTimes’s probe of the firms as well demanding an explanation about the projects from him.
“It should also be noted that distinguished Senator Nazif, is not aware of the details of the project in Giade, therefore, he neither nominated nor influenced the said project, let alone being linked with the contractor of the project that he is totally unaware of.
“it is also a wind-chasing effort for WikkiTimes to take the pain of ignorantly attempting to obtain information from Senator Nazif and even go as far as running a search at the Cooperate Affairs Commission for the details of the companies involved and further tracing their addresses on record without going to the appropriate place to obtain the complete information they seek.
“WikkTimes had no business writing to the Senator demanding for information while relying on the provisions of the FOI Act,” the statement read in part.
Senator Nazif further threatened legal action against WikkiTimes if the news outlet refused to retract and tender an apology to the senator over the publication in seven days’ time.
Responding, WikkiTimes’ publisher Haruna Mohammed Salisu says the organisation stands by its story.
“Our story is credible, devoid of any intention to blackmail the senator as he insinuated. We are just doing our job of exposing corruption and holding public officials to account,” he said.
Haruna said Senator Nazif needs to be educated that “The FOI Act does not only apply to serving public officials. I think Gamawa was ignominiously deceived by an incompetent lawyer who feels that the FOI Act only applies to serving public officials,” he said.
The publisher said WikkiTimes would not be intimidated by a threat of legal action, stressing that the medium would always tell truth to power without fear.
“Truth is our only defence. Senator Gamawa described our thorough investigative story as ‘unholy’. I don’t know what he means by that but we are not a religious organisation. We are in the business of ethical and investigative journalism.”