From Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
Gombe State government has reacted to the insinuation by the opposition New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) which alleged that it ordered the arrest of a radio journalist for hosting a member of the party in a political programme.
The state chapter of the NNPP had condemned the arrest and called for the immediate release of Yakubu Halliru a Journalist with Jewel FM Gombe alongside Malam Ahmed Mandi, a member and a diehard supporter of the NNPP gubernatorial candidate in the state.
However, the Special Adviser (SA) to the state governor on information management and strategy Ahmed Shuaibu Gara in a statement he issued on Saturday denied the arrest of the radio presenter, stating that the government did not order the arrest of any journalist in the state.
He challenged the opposition to provide proof that any journalist was arrested adding that it only tabled a complaint to the police against the radio guest who made unfounded allegations against the government.
“Gombe state government did not order the arrest of any journalist. Anyone who claims that a journalist was arrested, should show us his accreditation by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) or the Radio, Television and Theatre Art Workers Union (RATTAWU) or any identity card to prove that he is a journalist.
“What we know is that the government complained to the police which is our right to do so we monitored a radio programme where a guest was invited to a political programme which was about 30 minutes.
“In that programme, the guest alleged that we spent over N4 billion to fence the Gombe government house. We presented to the police our records of the entire state budget for the maintenance of all public buildings between 2019 to 2022.
“The entire figures for four years is not up to N4 billion and our performance for maintaining all public buildings in Gombe state is not more than N1.6 billion in all the four years (2019 – 2022). So under the principle of fair hearing, we wanted the police to help us ask him for his evidence.
“It is as elementary as this. How can someone say that we spent over N4 billion just to fence the Government House alone? In fact, when confronted by investigators the suspect does not even know how many millions make up N1 billion,” the SA alleged.
The media aide said ordinarily if anybody wants to get any information from the government for a genuine purpose, he should follow due process adding that the government is ever willing to do so in line with the Freedom of Information policy.