From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There was mild drama on Wednesday in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State as the Department of State Security (DSS) played a mediating role in forestalling criminal defamation charges being slammed on a news blogger, Saint Miepamo Onitsha.
The DSS had received a petition against Onitsha by the founder of Baraza Multipurpose Cooperative Society, Mr Miebi Bribina over publications by Onitsha on Naijatv.com which had portrayed him in bad light and threatened the operations of the cooperative spread across the country.
Reports gathered indicated that the DSS which had previously arrested and arraigned Onitsha in court when he allegedly defamed Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, upon receipt of the petition invited the news blogger twice and prevailed on both parties to reconcile.
“The DSS invitation was sequel to a petition by Miebi Bribena that Saint Miepamo was defaming him with the intention to extort money from him and incite investors of the Cooperative Society against him” Both parties were however prevailed to settle out of court and the news blogger asked to tender an unreserved apology to Mr Miebi Bribina,” a source familiar with what transpire said.
At the headquarters of the Cooperative society located at Otiotio junction, Onitsha who was accompanied by his lawyer, Benjamin Ogbara tendered his apology and pleaded with Mr Bribina to forgive him.
Speaking after the reconciliation exercise Bribena, said he has built a reputation over the years and he would not allow anybody to destroy it.
“I have said in various forums that people can lie or insult me and I can take it, because I have built my reputation over time and I will not allow someone lie because you want to make your blog to have traffic you will now lie on me.
“When I saw the publication that I have absconded with people’s money; that I have stolen militant’s money and stuffs like that I felt the best thing to do is not to take the law into my hands but to report to the authorities. So I reported to the DSS, because this caused the panic and most people’s blood pressure to go up and also some people had issues. He was invited, and made his statements but he could not substantiate his claims and he apologized in the DSS office and he was asked to meet me, and tender an apology and also to take it to the next step of publishing the apology and his actions in his blog, and also post on Facebook which was the media he used to report his story.”