The government of Niger state on Monday provided what it says were text message exchanges between it and Fejiro Oliver, the journalist declared missing since Friday and eventually paraded by the State Security Service, SSS in Minna on Monday.
The text messages as provided by the Niger State government detailed a conversation between Mr. Oliver and an official of the Niger state government. The Niger government is alleging the reporter tried to blackmail its officials over a story about Governor Muazu Aliyu.
The spokesperson of Mr. Aliyu, Israel Ebije, told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Oliver, whose real name is Tega Oghenedoro, is actually a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority in Asaba Delta state.
“Agreed reporters at times use pen names, but not in this case whereby this man was just using mushroom online platforms to blackmail innocent Nigerians,” he said
When pressed for concrete evidence that the journalist actually demanded bribe, Mr. Ebije forwarded to us what he claimed were text messages exchanged between Mr. Oghenedoro and the Secretary to Government of Niger State, Saidu Ndako
The Chief Press Secretary to Mr. Muazu said after it became clear that the journalist was out to blackmail officials of the state government, he issued a statement warning him to refrain from his actions or be exposed.
“I even put out a caveat to him through his so-called secret reporters warning him of the consequences of his actions, but because he is greedy he still insisted
“We are already aware that the documents he claimed to have were given to him by an aggrieved government official, Iliyasu Dhako, who I have on tape confessing and apologising for his action,” he said.
He also said when the SSG reported the matter to the State Security Service in Minna, they set up a trap for Mr. Oghenedoro “and he greedily fell into it” .
He said most of the communication the SSG had with the journalist was under the guidance of the SSS “just to prove that he was out to extort money” Mr. Ebije said.
Below is the full transcript of the text messages exchanged between the reporter and the SSG sequel to his arrival in Abuja after which he was arrested by the SSS at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.
Find the alleged text exchange between Tega Samuel Oghenedoro alias Fejiro Oliver and the Niger SSG below
Ndako: We are working out the possibility of beating the 9.30 am deadline to get the ticket out, your coming will be late evening and weekend, please tell me what to do next because I want an end to this issue and possible retrieval of all the documents. Regards
Fejiro: Sir, as long as Israel is out of the issue, we can manage everything successfully. I have gotten the receipt (sic) of the ticket and will be in Abuja tomorrow.
Ndako: Just trying to get prepared for we shall be looking at because of weekend.
Fejiro: SSG Sir, we can discuss everything when I come in tomorrow but you can count on me that it will be fruitful
Ndako: So how do we meet, where and when. need airport pickup?
Fejiro: Good Morning Sir, when the plane is set to fly, I will inform you. My staff in Abuja will be at the airport to pick me. Hotel accommodation for the 3 days is what is left and that can be done when I’m in Abuja.
Ndako: Okay no problem. Call me when you are in town
Fejiro: My flight is leaving now Sir
Meanwhile, the Daily Trust newspaper on Tuesday reported that the Niger State command of the SSS on Monday paraded Mr. Oghenedoro, for demanding N50 million from the state government to as a condition for dropping a story on alleged fraudulent activities within the government.
While parading the suspect before journalists, the state director, of the SSS, Larry Obiagwu, said Mr. Oghenedoro was arrested by his men at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja while on his way to Minna to collect the said amount.
However, a close ally of the journalist and human rights activist, Inibehe Effiong, who had been spearheading the campaign to find out the whereabouts of the journalist said on Tuesday that the Niger state government lied against the reporter
In a post on his Facebook timeline, Mr. Effiong said “We have heard from Fejiro Oliver directly. He says he appreciates our efforts and urged us to continue with the campaign to free him, that he is fine. As for
the information making round, we will respond appropriately. The attempt to paint Fejiro in bad light will fail. We are going to respond to all the issues raised. Now that I have heard from him I am more confident to fight on”.