By Yusha’u A. Ibrahim
Kano — The publisher and editor-in-chief of the online newspaper, Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar, yesterday restated that the video clips published by medium purporting to show Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje were genuine and not doctored.
Jaafar spoke when he appeared before the seven-man panel of the Kano State House of Assembly investigating the veracity of the clips.
He said he followed some processes of confirming the authenticity of the videos before releasing them to the public.
“First, I invited an expert from the Amnesty International who has verified the video and confirmed that it is genuine. I also invited an editorial expert who verified the clips and confirmed to me they are genuine. So, my videos are authentic, accurate and un-tampered.
“Contrary to speculations, this issue has nothing to do with politics. I still stand by my stories and the video clips. I hope the committee will do justice to all the parties involved in the matter,” he said
Asked about the date he received the videos, Jaafar said “I only got 15 different video clips on September 14, 2018, but I watched them much earlier before then. The clips were given to me by a whistle blower who I will not expose going by the ethics of our profession. Nine of the clips showed the face of the governor, while six did not show his face.”
He tendered his written statement and video clips to the committee for scrutiny.
Responding to a question regarding the identity of the whistle blower, Jaafar said he would consult his lawyers to discuss within the context of the law whether the whistle-blower could appear before the committee to shed more light on the clips.
Jaafar said he did not contact any government official for comment before publishing the videos which went viral on the social media.
He said: “Even before I released the clips, the Kano State government had issued a statement describing it as a cloned video.”
Jafar expressed satisfaction with the security arrangement during the hearing session, saying, “I was given adequate protection. Three assistant commissioners of police were deployed to Malam Aminu Kano International Airport to ensure my safety. I am confident that I am protected.”
Jaafar’s lawyer, Isaac Ambule, requested the committee to relocate the sitting to a neutral ground, saying “When we came from the airport, I saw a huge crowd of young men outside the secretariat and I am scared.”
But the chairman of the committee, Baffa Babba Danagundi rejected the request on the ground that the sitting was made public so that the parties involved and the general public could testify that the hearing was handled with fairness, justice and transparency.
Danagundi assured Jaafar, Daily Nigerian and his lawyer of justice, saying “We will view the clips in the presence of Jaafar, his lawyer and experts, Governor Ganduje, his lawyers and experts. We will also allow Jaafar to bring his expert to review the video in the presence of every party.
“Likewise, the governor will be allowed to bring his expert to review the videos and in the end, the committee will bring an independent expert to also review the clips before it will make its report.”
The Kano State Attorney General, Ibrahim Mukhtar, who was at the sitting, promised to ensure that justice is done to the public, Jaafar, and the governor.
Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, Kano State branch, Huwaila Muhammad Ibrahim, commended security agencies for providing adequate security to the publisher at the venue of the sitting, saying “security-wise, I can give security 100 percent pass mark because there are no lapses in their arrangements.
“For the conduct of the sitting, I was equally delighted with the way the house handled the matter. The committee is being guided by the constitution and laws of the house. The committee did not go beyond its limit and if it continues like that, I am sure the committee will come up with authentic results at the end of its investigation.
“We will continue to follow the matter to its logical conclusion to ensure that justice is done to everyone.”