The Head, Press and Public Relations of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Ibraheem Al-Hassan, has explained how the statement he issued to deny the assault allegation levelled against the tribunal’s chairperson, Danladi Umar, was error-filled.
Mr Al-Hassan also explained why his statement blamed “Biafra boys” for a doubtful assault on Mr Umar during the Monday’s incident.
The CCT chair, who presides over the trial of public offers accused of breach of code of conduct enumerated in the Nigerian Constitution, was seen in a video clip, which has now gone viral, assaulting a security guard at Banex Plaza, Wuse 2, Abuja, on Monday.
But, Mr Al-Hassan, in his statement on the incident, denied the allegation, insisting that it was Mr Umar that was assaulted.
PREMIUM TIMES has identified the victim to be Clement Sargwak, who narrated his ordeal in an interview with our reporter on Wednesday.
Various copies of Mr Al-Hassan’s statement highlighting various blunders contained in the original copy have emerged on the social media attracting critical derision.
Many Nigerians are also angered by the statement’s reference to “Biafran boys” blamed by Mr Al-Hassan for an unsubstantiated assault on Mr Umar during the pandemonium on Monday.
The reference to ‘Biafran boys’ is widely seen as an unjustified ethnic slur directed againt people of Igbo extraction.
‘I wrote under pressure, instruction’
Mr Al-Hassan told ICIR Thursday that he was under pressure while issuing the Tuesday’s statement.
Speakingin an emotion-laden voice, Mr Al-Hassan said he was instructed by the CCT chair to blame the unsubstantiated assault on him on “Biafran boys.”
“The PRO said he later realised his mistake,” the ICIR report says.
Mr Al-Hassan also he had been summoned over the statement by his parent ministry, the Ministry of Information and Culture, which posted him to the CCT as an information officer since 2013.
He said, “There’s a problem with that statement. In fact, we are about disowning it. We want to retract the content because it was written under intense pressure. I must confess to you, that is why there are many structural imbalances, language structure not being perfect and, again, some of the expressions used. I acted on instruction.”
“Now as I am speaking with you, I’m in my ministry. My ministry has summoned me for that statement. My minister, so to say, through my director. So, I should be given some time to get this problem solved.”
“All the grammatical errors and what have you were not noted. I did not proofread it, I was in the car when I composed it with my android (phone).”
Asked if he feared he could be punished by his superiors for the blunders contained in his statement, he said, “What should I do? I am now in my ministry as I speak with you. That is Ministry of Information.”
“There are series of issues in that place and I have been able to manage them. There has never been an issue with my statements,” he stated, adding that “as I am speaking with you, I am regretting my action.”
When contacted by PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, Mr Al-Hassan said he would not talk further on the matter.
Mr Al-Hassan’s statement, which has since gone viral, was littered with grammatical blunders such as, “video cliff” instead of “video clip”; “packing lot” instead of “parking lot”; “rode” instead of “rude”; “fixe” instead of “fix.” And also preferred “had went’ instead of ‘‘had gone”; on a report instead of to a report.
The statement also contained derogatory and ethnic profiling of the use of the phrase ‘BIAFRAN boys’
In reaction, many Nigerians have taken to several social media accounts to express their dismay at what many described as “offensive” about the content of the release.
Read the full statement issued by Al-Hassan
Press Statement from the Code of Conduct Bureau
Our attention was drawn on a report from some online publication with a video cliff suggesting Hon Chairman, Justice Danladi Y. Umar assaulted a Security Guard at Banex Plaza.
To start with, the said plaza has been his usual place of visits for the past 18 years for shopping and repairs of his phones, and in all these periods there have never been any time he had any turmoil with anybody.
Unfortunately, yesterday’s altercations started over a packing lot, which Chairman met vacant and it was directly opposite a shop he want to make a purchase and to fixe his phone, when the young Security guard sighted him, he ordered that Chairman should not pack his car in that particular empty space, but Chairman asked why, the security guard couldn’t convinced chairman, though Chairman didn’t identify himself, because to him is needless and is a place he visited often, but the boy was rode in his approached and threaten to deal with Chairman if he refuse to leave the scene.
Again, if Chairman had went there to cause trouble or intimidate some one, as suggested in the report, he would have gone there in his full official paraphernalia, but he went there alone with his younger brother.
The Police men seen in the video cliff were not the Chairman’s police team, they were policemen operating around the plaza whom at first instance intervened before the arrival of police team from Maitama Police station. As the few policemen in the complex were apparently overwhelmed by the mobs, consisting of BIAFRAN boys throwing matches and shape object to his car, which led to deep cut and dislocation in one of his finger, causing damage to his car, smashing his windscreen.
At a point he attempted to leave the scene, these same miscreants, BIAFRAN boy ordered for the closure of the gate thereby assaulting him before the arrival of police team from Maitama police station.
In an incident like this when it happened, sympathy usually goes to the low personalities. Though is unfortunate as I said, it ought not to have happened.”
Head, Press & Public Relations.
March, 30th 2021.
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