PREMIUM TIMES, MYSELF, AND THE AGENDA OF FIRST CLASS CITIZENS

By Dr. John Danfulani

“There are three types of lies-lies, damn lies, and statistics” Benjamin Disraeli

Premium Times reports of 27th January 2016 entitled: “Kaduna University Suspends Lecturer Over Facebook ‘Hate Speech'” of 29th January, 2016; “Kaduna University Lecturer Accused Of ‘Hate Speech’ Challenges Suspension”; and that of 10th April, 2016 with the heading: “After Suspension, Kaduna University Lecturer Recants Statement Criticizing APC, Buhari” are an exhibition of a hidden mission by wicked forces of darkness to throw the kitchen sink on me at all cost. Statements credited to me and most major claims of their three reports were unabashedly concocted to give the hangman already knotting his ropes a marching order. For speed and improper strategizing, they left many loose ends, thereby dancing naked in the public square like mad morons.

Dregs of their desperate intentions to convict me over a maliciously hemmed allegation dropped on the floor in the evening of 28th January, 2016 when police officers investigating the laughable allegations labeled against me “dragged me” to the Commissioner of Police(CP) of Kaduna State at the tail hours of that working day. After introducing me to the CP and stating my written denial, the CP told me that I shouldn’t claim ignorance because a Premium Times reporter reported my confirmation of the ownership of the pen under investigation. Logic and syllogism shows that the strength of Nigeria Police’s investigation was premised on Premium Times junk reportage of 27th January, 2016.

A day after my encounter with the CP which is 29th January 2016, Premium Times published their second report stating my confirmation of authorship of the alleged Social Media updates.That report further showed that Premium Times were on commissioned mission. At the date of that report, I was already in CP’s net and incommunicado, but they reported figments of their imaginations as an interview they conducted with me. The paragon of “Amala and Ewedu” journalism in Nigeria reported me declaring “I have decided to head to court to institute three separate cases on the query and infringement of my fundamental human rights as guaranteed by our constitution, and other global and regional protocols on people’s rights,”. Premium Times also quoted me thus: “I called the CP on arrival and told him I will be seeing him at 10am on 29th January, 2016 (today),”. By this, it meant that I conducted an interview with their personnel on 29th January, 2016.

First, I walked my sincere and innocent fins into police’s net on 28th January, 2016 and my mobile phone and laptop, my only means of communications, were confiscated by the Police. And there is no challenging the realism that on the 29th January I was throughout in Magistrate’s Court 1, Ibrahim Taiwo Road Kaduna for trial. That day staged an unprecedented drama that ended with commencement of my trial in the night in the Chief Magistrate’s office. How on earth could I have a chance to grant such a lengthy interview given the circumstances surrounding me on 29th January, 2016? Second, his statement that I had decided to head to the court on three separate issues was also comical because as at that time, no decision had been reached to challenge my suspension and other basic rights infringements despite existence of such violations by the Police and Kaduna State University. The decision to head to the National Industrial Court challenging my illegal suspension by my employers came weeks after my release from the gulags on 2nd February, 2016.

On Wednesday, 30th March, 2016, Voice Of America (VOA) Hausa ran “DIMOKARADIYA A YAU” in their morning edition and quoted Premium Times reportage confirming my assenting to the piece under investigation. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) was VOA’s expert invited to gave some constitutional interpretations and guidance to the programme. He made an emphatic unconstitutional statement insinuating that I had no right to air my view as an employee of KASU, a technical way of snatching away my fundamental human rights enshrined in our 1999 Constitution (as amended) and other protocols of peoples’ rights globally accepted. I felt the SAN consciously or unconsciously misinformed VOA’s global community. Consequently, I resolved to correct his dangerous and almost “semi-illiterate” positions. I protested via an email, and VOA staged another programme featuring me on 6th April, 2016. My first take was to express denial of granting interview to Premium Times as asserted by the anchor of the programme. And folded up by stating in unequivocal terms that my job in KASU could not snatch away my rights as a human being and a citizen of a free Nigeria. If the SAN who spent years studying law in school and now practicing the same law is claiming ignorance that some rights are natural and cannot be snatched away, it is very unfortunate. With SANs like him, we now know why it is easier pushing a camel through the eye of a needle than getting justice in Nigeria.

At about 11:58 am on Sunday of April 10, 2016, my phone signalled the arrival of a new mail. On opening it, I saw a mail from one Haruna Ibrahim saying he heard my VOA programme denying granting an interview to Premium Times. Within minutes at about 12:07 I replied him and demanded that he should forward the thread of any early discussion on what he intended challenging before I react to his queries. He never replied my email. By 12:45pm, my attention was drawn to the 10th April 2016 report of Premium Times with a mischievous heading suggesting I recanted what I was alleged to have authored. One of their silliest and mischievous lines of that report stated thus: “It is not clear if Mr. Danfulani was pressured into recanting his earlier statement. Several calls made to his mobile phone did not go through and he did not respond to email sent to him”. How could somebody we exchanged emails with at 11:58 am write by 12:45pm that I did not respond to his email? If indeed I don’t answer emails, how did I get my opinion titled: “EL-rufai’s Schools Feeding Programme: A Moment of Truth” published in Premium Times of 17th March 2016? I have never received a mail or phone call from Mohammed Lere (the reporter), this fact is verifiable. All my exchanges were with one Yunusa Mohammed via email. It’s clear that Premium Times is using some set of names communicating with people and filing reporting with ghost names. I make bold to state that Mr. Mohemmed Lere that made most of the reports from Kaduna is a ghost.

From their three reports, it is clear that Premium Times are neck-deep in a secret plan by some autocratic forces that my struggle for expansion of democratic space, good governance, respect for human rights, sensitive and productive governance in Kaduna State and Nigeria is giving them sleepless nights. Lest they forget, my Bible assured faithful believers that: “no weapon fashioned against me shall prosper”. No threat of arrest, persecution or prosecution or even physical elimination will deter me from withdrawing from our collective pool of rights guaranteed in our 1999 Constitution (as amended). Similarly, no suspension or outright dismissal from my teaching and research work in KASU will pull the brakes on my determination to live a free life, a life as a prisoner of conscience.

It is only in Nigeria that the people of a particular race and religion can mock a pillar of another religion like a retweet made by Governor El-rufa’i on Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, called a whole Army “Jonathanian Army”, brand the whole members of PDP in Kaduna State as virus, and told opponents to go climb Mount Kufena and fall. We are witnessing a rapid graduation to a situation where a whole Southern Kaduna people are being annihilated by local and imported killers, and their governor will brand it reprisals (instead of genocide), and tactically justified it by saying that the Fulanis have a long memory. Is Mr. El-rufa’i’s blasphemous statement and hate speech not good enough to divide the people and cause brouhaha between adherences of different faiths? Premium Times and some of their international broadcasters never reported any of such hate speeches and open dislike of Christians by Mr.El-Rufa’i.

All the frivolous allegations against me are standing because am a “minority” northern Christian- a people Mr. El-rufa’i and his surrogates live to crush. His statement that Christians are only 30% of the State population on 6th April, 2016 was another clear testimony of his continued hatred against Christians and Christianity. After his decision that was described as “reckless” by the umbrella body of Southern Kaduna people, SOKAPU, Premium Times and their international conspirators refused to carry the story nor SOKAPU’s lashing of Mr. El-rufa’i’s reckless and saddistic comments on the ratio of Christians and Muslims in Kaduna State. Are they telling us that they are still in the studio producing programmes focusing on Mr.El-rufa’i’s unfounded claims or in the newsrooms scripting the stories? We know they are not in the studio nor siting in editor’s table working on his unfortunate and saddistic comments.

Premium Times can continue with their unethical and dishonest practices, I shall never join them in this and other unholy agenda they are executing on behalf of totalitarians and “first class citizens” that bamboozled Nigerians and got mandates on 28th March and 11th April of 2016. I avoided extensive and intensive delving into these issues because there are cases surrounding them in the Magistrate’s and National Industrial Courts.

Premium Times should not be found paving ways for dictatorship and apartheid in Nigeria. Unfortunately, that is exactly what they are doing.

Dr John Danfulani, [email protected], 08088883213

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