By JAMES EZEMA
An amalgamation of coalition of civil society organisations has urged the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, to first finish his many defamation legal battles in courts before opening a new legal war front with Nigerian oil magnate, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Sir Emeka Offor.
The groups, under the Joint Action Coalition of Civil Society Groups in Nigeria, at a press briefing in Abuja while urging the Sowore to leave Chief Offor alone, said Sahara Reporters has transformed from a media outfit to a professional blackmailing house for pecuniary gains.
Members of the Coalition include Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group, Nigerians Unites Against Corruption, I Belong To One Nigeria Initiative, Northern Inter-Faith and Religious Organization for Peace, Igbo Nation Youths Union (INYOU), Correspondent Without Borders, Peoples Parliament, African Arise for Change Network, Lawyers of Hope Network, Coalition for Change, Congress for Conscience, and Conference of Minority Tribes in Nigeria.
Others are Free Education Movement, Stand up for Nigeria, National Democratic Front, Global Amnesty Foundation, and Save Humanity Advocacy Center.
According to the organisations, “the Business man has been the subject of attacks by the online medium in recent times to the extent that it had gone as far as publishing that the marine mogul was broke after the antics for extortion of highly placed individuals fail to yield fruit”.
The spokesman of the coalition, Comrade Kingsley Ola said, “what Sahara Reporters have perfected is loathsome use of the online platform to blackmail highly placed individuals in the society, with the aim of extorting huge sums of money from them.
“If you refuse to yield to his antics, more attacks in the name of exposing corruption will be launched by Sahara Reporters against you.
“For those who don’t know Omoyele Sowore and why he is into his thriving blackmailing trade, he never had a proper journalism background.
“Sowore was only a leader of the Students Union Government at University of Lagos from where he left Nigeria for the United States on the pretence that he was traveling for proper treatment after the cultists’ attacks, which we believe was prearranged for his exit.
“Rather than finish his so-called treatment and return home, Sowore founded Sahara Reporters in a small room in Manhattan, which he has used over the years as a tool of blackmail and extortion of African leaders and well-meaning citizens.
“We advise Sowore to pay the N4 billion judgment obtained as damages against him for false stories by Dr. Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate of the federal republic of Nigeria and face the N5bn libel suit filed against him by Senator Dino Melaye over false publication, which led to his certificate issue that eventually turned out to be a mere fabrication by Sahara Reporters publisher.
“Sahara Reporters has been used to blackmail journalists, civil society groups and organisations for mere plate of portage.
“So, we are not surprised that a new target, Chief Emeka Offor, who is a known Philanthropist, at home and abroad, was selected by Sahara Reporters Publisher for smear campaign and blackmail for cash settlement.
“We have watched with dismay the continued publication of defaming articles and fake news against Chief Emeka Offor, who have distinguished himself as an entrepreneur. Because the oil mogul has ignored these publications, more and more defaming stories are being concocted by Sahara Reporters.
“While not holding brief for the business man, Sowore should leave Emeka Offor alone to have enough time to face his many libel suits in Nigeria and in the Diaspora”, the group counselled him.
The coalition added that “Sir Emeka Offor, as the Chairman of the Chrome Group, has extensive domestic and international business experience in numerous sectors of the economy.
“He is a dynamic and hard-charging entrepreneur, who exhibits the strength of character, vision and dedication required to be successful in an often challenging and demanding environment like ours.”