Jaafar Jaafar, publisher of Daily Nigerian newspaper, has gone into hiding following a series of threats to his life over a report that the Kano state Governor was caught on camera receiving $5 million kickbacks from unnamed contractors.
In a two-part report, Mr. Jafaar claimed a reporter for the online newspaper came in contact with a secretly recorded tape of Gov. Ganduje tucking wads of dollars in his flowing robe.
“In one of the clips, this reporter watched how the governor, who appeared without a cap, took note of the names of contractors who paid the kickback and later tucked the bundles of dollar notes into his kaftan side pockets and trousers’ pockets,” claimed Daily Nigerian in the first part of the report.
Nigerian social media was abuzz with a series of conjectures after the report, with the only hint in the report being revelation of the Governor’s region “Northwest.”
Reacting to a Facebook user who had asked for immediate revelation of the Governor’s identity, Mr. Jaafar wrote, “DAILY NIGERIAN will not betray the trust of its readers for worldly gains. We have justifiable reason for delaying the release. If our plan was to trade off the matter, we wouldn’t have published the first part. We will publish the video soon (it may be today, tomorrow or even next week). The assurance we have for our teeming readers is that NO COMPROMISE (sic).”
The second part of the report, October 10, unveiled the identity of the politician. Mr. Jaafar who’s also the publisher and editor-in-chief of the online newspaper, revealed Nigerian security agencies were already analysing a number of video clips to authenticate the contents. Daily Nigerian also reported that “Multiple contractors… on the condition of anonymity said the governor personally receives from 15 to 25 percent kickbacks for every project executed in the state.”
The Kano state Government, through its Commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, denied the allegation in an interview with Premium Times newspaper. “We wish to state that there is no iota of truth to these allegations and if indeed there is any such alleged video, it is at best cloned.” He said, adding that the reporter was only out to smear the reputation of his principal.
When contacted, Mr. Jaafar confirmed to Nigerian Diary there’s in fact threats to his life but he’s in a safe place. His plight has long attracted global attention, with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists announcing it through its official handle on Twitter today, Thursday.