Samuel Luka, Bauchi
A Bauchi-based Civil Society Organization, Alheri Community Development and Support Initiative (Alheri-CDSI) has kicked against the decision of a group of three construction companies that dragged WikkiTimes online Newspaper paper to court for publishing a story they considered offensive to them.
According to CSO, the action of the companies which include, S.A.T Engineering Service, Insulum Nigeria Ltd and Haitel Nigeria Ltd was aimed at intimidatinc and frustrating WikkiTmes and its reporter after exposing the alleged mishandling of the projects by the companies.
The CSO while describing the action as absurd and barbaric, said that the report carried out by the newspaper was a constitutional attempt by the WikkiTimes to give opportunity for the companies to clearly explain their roles in the reported failed Nomadic Education Commission’s school construction projects in three senatorial zones of Kano State.
Sani Mu’azu Tama, Alheri-CDSI Programme Officer said this in a press conference on Wednesday in Bauchi.
He said going to court will not exonerate the firms from the alleged scandal, rather, it only exposes them to suspicions and cover-ups to divert public attention from the real issues at stake.
“Alheri-CDSI wants to, in strongest terms ask S.A.T Engineering Service, Insulum Nigeria Ltd, and Haitel Nigeria Ltd, a group consortium that allegedly mishandled Nomadic Education Projects in State to explain their roles and exonerate themselves from the said projects with convincing pieces of evidence and facts,” he said.
Mr Tama said any organisation that is jittery about the works of investigative journalists must have some skeletons in the cupboard that it is trying to keep away from public scrutiny.
While calling on press freedom groups within and outside Nigeria to come to the rescue of WikkiTimes, the civil society Organization said the excesses of powerful individuals and groups against the Nigerian press must be checkmated to safeguard public interest and guarantee citizens’ freedom of expression.
Mr Tama called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to further investigate the findings WikkiTimes reported about the alleged failed projects to bring those culpable to book.
“These bodies must expedite their actions to earn the trust and confidence of Nigerians. We will maintain a cursory look until the right thing is done,” he said.
WikkiTimes had published an investigation about six construction companies involved in the building of 20 units of one block- of 2-classrooms with furniture, toilets, and offices in selected locations across the three senatorial districts in Kano.
The companies include S.A.T Engineering Service LTD, M. Sulum Nigerian LTD, Emacs Engineering Consultant, Pyramid Investment, MGK Global Service LTD and Haitel Nig LTD.
However, S.A.T Engineering Service LTD, M. Sulum Nigerian LTD and their owner, Alhaji Surajo Marshal including one other company through their counsel, Habiba Abdullahi Umar Esq filed a criminal lawsuit before Magistrate Court 18, Justice AB Wali Complex, Gyadi-Gyadi, Kano State.