Saint Mienpamo Onitsha, owner of a news blog, Naija Live TV, has thanked Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State for pardoning him after he allegedly published falsehood against his person.
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, had on Tuesday discharged a “cyber-stalking” suit filed against Onitsha by the Department of State Services (DSS) after the blogger tendered a public apology to Governor Bello.
Bello had filed a complaint at the DSS over the report in which the blogger claimed that he spent N7 billion to construct a makeshift Covid-19 Isolation centre in Kogi State.
But the case was dismissed by Justice Abimbola Awogboro of the said court after the prosecution counsel, Victor Uchendu, filed an application to withdraw the charge against Onitsha.
Justice Awogboro advised that journalists should always ensure that they uphold the ethics of the profession by verifying all reports before rushing to press.
Speaking at the premises of the court shortly after the suit was withdrawn and struck out, Onitsha said he decided to apologise to Governor Bello on realizing that his publication was bereft of fact.
“First of all, I want to appreciate the Kogi state Governor for playing a fatherly role. I appreciate him because he has decided to forgive me as a father and I take him as a father from today.
“On the professional angle, as journalists, we do confirm stories before we publish. I will still make sure that going forward, I will get to the root of all my stories before publication,” he said.
Onitsha also thanked the Kogi State Commissioner of Information, Kingsley Fanwo, for traveling from Kogi to Bayelsa to ensure that the case was amicably resolved.
In his remarks, Fanwo described his boss as a as media friendly politician that would not want his relationship with journalists to be tainted.
“Let me first of all thank the DSS for the diligent prosecution of this case. From the investigation and prosecution, the DSS showed to the world that they are one of the best agencies that we have in Nigeria.
“The Governor has decided to forgive Saint Mienpamo for so many reasons. One of the reasons is that he apologized to the Governor and the people of Kogi State and he has learnt his lessons from this to always follow the ethics of the profession
“We are very sure that he is a young journalist that has been doing very well. So, we do believe that it’s an error on his part, and having apologized to the governor, the governor has decided to forgive him.
“Secondly, the governor is a friend of journalists and he is someone that is very friendly to media practitioners. So, he has decided to use this as an example of his cordial relationship with pen pushers.
“Lastly, Saint Mienpamo is a young man like the governor. They belong to the youth bracket. He is a friend of all youths across the country. So, it’s a way of saying, Saint Miepamo, you are my friend and despite the disagreement, I have decided to forgive you,” Fanwo added.