Nigeria

In Between Lagos Assembly Speaker Obasa, Sahara Reporters And Social Media Influencers

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For over a month, popular online newspaper, , has been on the trail of the Assembly speaker, , over multiple allegations of fraud.

The terrain has been largely that of the news platform with the ‘camp’ of the Lagos State speaker publishing rejoinders to disclaim the continuous allegations levelled against him. The defence strategy appears to have changed as a new hash tag took over social networking platform, , declaring that ‘#SaharaReporterslied’

Sahara Reporters has however alleged that some persons were paid ₦60 million to attack its platform over the series of reports it has carried out in recent weeks.

Since the newspaper has started revealing alleged fraudulent activities carried out by the Lagos speaker, there have been different rejoinders that have followed suit. The Speaker has threatened a ₦1billion lawsuit; members of the House have declared support for the speaker and the latest is the social media rebuttal spearheaded by Twitter ‘Influencers’.

SaharaReporters Allegations

In Between Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, Sahara Reporters And Social Media Influencers
In Between Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, Sahara Reporters And Social Media Influencers

On March 22, SaharaReporters published the story with the caption “EXPOOSED: Speaker of Lagos Assembly, Obasa, Awards Contract To Self Through Company’s Registered In Son’s Name”. Also, in a separate report, the newspaper alleged that ₦47.5million was approved by the speaker for quarterly media promotion of the House. To make it sound quite ‘fraudulent’, the paper used the headline “In Wasteful Spending Of Public Funds, Assembly Speaker, Obasa Approves ₦47.5m for Quarterly Media Promotion of House”. Some of the other allegations made by the newspaper are:

“How Speaker of Lagos Assembly, Obasa, Tricked Ex-State Governor, Ambode, To Collect ₦350million for A Five-Day Conference”

“Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, Fraudulently Collected N53m For Travel With Mistress To United States”

“How Speaker Of Lagos Assembly, Obasa, Collected N45m For Christmas Party That Never Held”

“Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, Fraudulently Collected N53m For Travel With Mistress To United States”

“How Speaker Of Lagos Assembly, Obasa, Clerk Deceived House Members”

“EXCLUSIVE: Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, Approves N258m For Printing Of Invitation Cards For House Inauguration Two Months After Event Held”

“Lagos Speaker, Obasa, Gets N17m Monthly For Maintenance Of Personal Residence, Guest House”

“Lagos Speaker, Obasa, Gives Thugs N50m To Burn Down SaharaReporters’ Civic Media Lab, Targets TVC Journalist, HEDA For Criticizing Him”

The most recent of such allegations came after the hashtag SaharaReportersLied began trending on social media. The news platform alleged that the Lagos Assembly speaker paid ₦60 million to social media influencers

OBASA REACTS

In Between Lagos Assembly Speaker, Obasa, Sahara Reporters And Social Media Influencers
Mudashiru Obasa, Lagos State Assembly Speaker

The Lagos State Assembly speaker, Mudashiru Obasa has reacted to the series of allegations levelled against him by the newspaper. Speaking through his legal counsel, Lawal Pedro, the speaker has threatened to file a law suit against the newspaper.

Pedro, in a demand letter to Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore, said the unsubstantiated claims repeated in the reports confirmed Obasa’s suspicion “that you and your organisation for reasons best known to you are pre-occupied with personal resentment and hatred neither warranted, necessary, proper nor justified against him”.

The SAN, in the April 30 letter, adds: “We were able to confirm that the House of Assembly has never at any time engaged or awarded any contract to any of the listed companies in the publication.

“Therefore, we find the publication utterly absurd, abusive, malicious and amount to irresponsible journalism to deliberately tarnish the image of the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly (Our Client).

“Our client has been greatly injured in his credit, character and reputation and in his office and has been brought to unwarranted hatred, ridicule, public scandal, odium and contempt before his friends, associates, constituents, the State, the country and the world as a whole.”

TWITTER REACTIONS

Different reactions have continued to trail the fraud allegations against the Speaker and the subsequent hashtags stating that the online newspaper, SaharaReporters lied.

Below are some reactions from Twitter users:

Adelowo Adegboyega
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