Groups of youth and students mobilised to the Kano State House of Assembly to chant support for the embattled Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on Thursday as the publisher of Daily Nigerian newspaper, Jaafar Jaafar, appeared before a committee probing the allegation of bribery against the governor.
The state legislature set up the seven-member committee to investigate the alleged $5 million bribery captured in video clips published by the online newspaper.
The committee invited Mr Jaafar to appear before it on Thursday after visiting the commissioner of police and state director of the State Security Service (SSS).
Mr Jaafar arrived the Assembly around 12:13 p.m holding a copy of the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an.
After submitting copies of video clips and a written statement, the journalist told the lawmakers that the contents of the clips are “genuine, accurate, untampered and undoctored.”
He said he first saw the video clips over a year ago but they came into his possession in September.
Mr Jafaar said he sought the opinions of graphic experts who confirmed the authenticity of the clips before he published them.
Other reputable organisations who ascertained the authenticity of the clips, according to Mr Jaafar, include Amnesty International, BBC and PREMIUM TIMES.
He told the committee that nine out of the15 clips show the face of Mr Ganduje and contained his voice, while the remaining six have the governor’s voice only.
The publisher rejected the request of the committee chairman, Bappa Dan’agundi, to disclose the source of the clips, saying the universal principle of confidentiality in journalism prescribes non-disclosure of source of information obtained under confidence.
Mr Jaafar appealed to members of the committee to be fair in discharging their duties.
When the state Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Ibrahim Mukhtar, asked him whether he contacted Mr Ganduje or any of his media aides before publishing the story, Mr Jaafar said no.
The government had issued a statement that the video clips were doctored.
Panel chairperson, Mr Dan’agundi, said the committee will appoint an independent person not known to either Messrs Ganduje or Jaafar to check the authenticity of the clips.
He said both Messrs Ganduje and Jaafar or their representatives would be invited to the floor of the house to witness the process.
The committee, however, rejected the request of Mr Jaafar’s lawyer, Isaac Ambule, for relocation of its sitting to a neutral location, saying that the committee will be fair to both parties in discharging its responsibilities.
The security was tight in the assembly premises during the sitting.
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