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Director General of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Dr Samuel Ogbuku

PORT HARCOURT/Nigeria: The South-south Emerging Leaders Forum (SELF) has defended the newly appointed Director General of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Dr Samuel Ogbuku against malicious media reports by an online platform (SaharaReporters), saying the NDDC boss has been cleared of all charges by the competent courts of law.

The online medium had reported a case of an alleged assassination attempt on the life of Chief Timi Alaibe, where six persons were killed in Opokuma in 2014 and another case of alleged N19.2 billion fraud in 2012.

But in a statement released to newsmen on Friday and signed by the National Coordinator of the forum, Barr. Benjamin Kwalowei, said Dr Ogbuku had been long cleared of all the fiticious cases by the competent Courts of law.

The South-south forum consisting of professionals in the region urged the public to disregard reports, saying Saharareporters lacks credibility and it a known medium for blackmail.

According to Kwalowei, the Online Media notoriously known for blackmailing public officials should tender an unreserved apology and retract the malicious reports against an innocent NDDC boss, Dr Samuel Ogbuku.

“The reported cases against Dr Samuel Ogbuku were carried out in bad light and it should be condemned outrightly. We have found out that Saharareporters did not carry out due diligence but hurriedly reported a one-sided lie against an innocent man, who is now the Managing Director of the NDDC.

“While we warn against this Pull Him Down Syndrome, we can confidently state that a High Court of Bayelsa State of Nigeria, in the said case of murder decided by Hon. Justice Kate Abiri (The then Chief Judge) on the 22nd December 2014 discharged and acquitted Dr Samuel Ogbuku of any wrongdoing.

“Justice Kate Abiri stated in the judgement that ‘from the totality of evidence placed before this Court, and having carefully considered the ingredients of the offence, I find that the prosecution failed to prove all the three allegations conjunctively which has affected the quality of proof required, which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused person Samul Ogbuku is according to discharged and acquitted from the one count charge of the murder case against him.’

Also reacting to the alleged case of N19.2 billion fraud in 2012, reported against Dr. Ogbuku, the forum said a Federal High Court of Nigeria in Abuja, presided over by Hon. Justice A. R Mohammed, on the 10th of June 2015, dismissed the said case.

Justice A. R Mohammed said in the certified true copy of the judgement obtained by this forum that “The charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/167/13 filled before this Court amounted to an abuse of Court process and the same is accordingly dismissed.”

While urging media to always do due diligence and ensure a balanced news report, the South-south group warned against further attacks by Saharareporters.

“The forum is using this medium to warn against further attacks against the person of Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, especially by the notorious Saharareporters. We make bold to say we will not hesitate to drag the medium or any other before the Court of law if such unverified news is published,” Barr. Kwalowie stated.

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