*Says it is a calculated plot to distract, maliciously attack Osinbajo
A political group in Nigeria has accused Punch Newspaper of allowing itself to be used by the Peoples Democratic Party to propagate its Dubai strategy aimed at tarnishing the image and goodwill of persons in government, especially the President and Vice President.
The Initiative to Save Democracy, ISD, in a press statement on Saturday said the latest report by the newspaper: OSINBAJO’S FIRM LINKED TO COMPANY FINGERED IN ALLEGED N100B ALPHA BETA SCAM, was a pointer to the fact that it was working to spread fake news and be mischievous.
Sunday James Akinloye, President of the group, said even though Punch Newspaper failed to establish any clear cut relationship between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s former law firm and Ocean Trust Limited, it still went on to publish the report.
“To think that three reporters and perhaps two editors sat down to deviously concoct a fake news against the Vice President is rather frightening. Prof. Osinbajo has nothing to do with this old and stale matter, yet the paper used his name as the headline, trying so hard and desperatly to link him to it.
“Is Punch saying that if the VP has stakes in First Bank, MTN or any other company he is responsible for the actions and inactions of such organizations? This is the worst kind of reporting particularly from Punch, a newspaper that is fully implementing PDP’s Dubai strategy. Nigerians and all people of goodwill are hereby reminded of the evil intentions behind the whole charade against the VP.
“Let me state categorically that Simmon Coopers is not Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s firm as alleged by Punch Newspaper. Even the skewed report stated that Simmons Coopers was listed as a company in which Prof Yemi Osinbajo (now Vice-President) ‘had’ a stake in his asset declaration form in 2015. The VP could not have continued with the firm and resigned before he became VP. This is public knowledge.”
Mr. Akinloye then went on to explain that not only does VP Osinbajo have nothing to do with the law firm or its transactions; Simmon Coopers again has said it is not the Company Secretary. This is also in the public space.
“Our checks with Corporate Affairs Commission officials show that Simmon Coopers were never appointed Company Secretary instead there was a resolution to appoint Simmon Coopers but they were never appointed.
“Punch was handed fake documents which they published on their website. Anyone can go to CAC to verify the documents, they are completely fake claims. A paper submitted by a company to CAC of its plans or intentions is not the same thing as a CAC document.
“It is intriguing that Punch editors and reporters could not understand or comprehend this basic things.”
He pointed out that the inaccurate report by Punch tried to link the VP to a case he knows about.
“This is what Punch Newspaper has become and it is no surprise that two of its editors were recently sacked for this poor sense of judgment and professionalism. We hope these reporters are served same treatment,” he said.
“Students of history, will be perplexed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in July 2018 had investigated this matter, and the Vice President was not associated with the case in anyway.
He said the reporters who wrote the story, they have a track record of reporting falsehood especially against the VP, a part of the Dubai strategy.
“Nigerians still remember the fake news by Eniola Akinkuotu, one of the many lies on VP like “Osinbajo puts TraderMoni tour on hold” or Tobi Aworinde’s “Buhari return and sidelines Osinbajo” or “Tinubu, Ambode alleged feud puts godfatherism in the spotlight” where they all sought to malign the person of VP Osinbajo.
“This is unacceptable to attempt to link a man to an issue he has no business with and this is the way that Punch newspaper has been conducting itself for many years.
“Prof. Osinbajo is a man of integrity, he is a honest man who has served Nigeria in every way possible, the least he deserves is this kind of fake reportage. Nigerians must be weary of reports like this.”
This story is a clear malicious attempt to impugn the stellar credentials of perhaps Nigeria’s most influential & hardworking Nigerian VP, ISD noted, adding that such will not fail.”