The Borno State government has condemned one of Nigeria’s online newspaper, TheCable for publishing what it described as a “misleading,vicious, malicious, cock and bull story” about the goings on in Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, Camps in the State.
Senior special assistant to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Mohammed Shuwa, gave the condemnation in a statement issued on Tuesday, 33 days after the said report was published on December 29, 2016.
Editor of TheCable, Fisayo Soyombo, a multiple award-winning investigative journalist, had written the report detailing how children are suffering and dying in IDP camps and food items are being stolen by camp officials.
The report titled: “UNDERCOVER: In Borno, children are dying at IDP camps,foodstuffs are disappearing’ at SEMA store”, was republished by icirnigeria.org under the title: “How Corruption Is Killing Children In IDP Camps.”
TheCable newspaper said that Soyombo’s report was a result of eight days spent in Borno State as an undercover journalist who had disguised as a humanitarian agent in order to gain access to public officials in charge of IDP-related matters.
But Governor Shettima’s spokesman, Shuwa, described the report as “not only misleading in its entirety, but vicious, malicious, insinuating and indeed a sponsored or hatchet assignment by a group of individuals who have rightly or wrongly an axe to grind with the state government.”
Shuwa also attacked the person of the author of the report Fisayo Soyombo,saying that “the so-called Editor of ‘The Cable’ unveiled his true character as a sponsored agent with his essay or write up of contradictions, innuendos, conjectures, aspersions and outright falsehood.”
“It is unfortunate that most of the pictures contained in his publication are cut and paste of over used pictures of victims who were already malnourished before their rescue by the military from the den of the insurgents and taken to IDP camps. A professional and respected journalist must know that facts are sacred and comments superfluous,” the Governor’s spokesman blasted Soyombo.
Shuwa noted that Governor Shettima had acknowledged that “the situation in Borno at that time was overwhelming” but he also assured “that the government with the support of a few reputable organisations was doing its best to improve the situation” as the situation “was not peculiar to Nigeria.”
The spokesman advised “Fisayo Soyombo … and his mentor or mentors that if they have nothing to say, they should” shut up.