Two Delta State House of Representatives members; Hon Nicholas Mutu and his colleague, Thomas Ereyitomi have raised the alarm over an alleged acts suggestive of blackmail and extortion by the Editor-in-Chief of Nigeria Pilot Newspaper, one Mr. Dennis Sami.
They dismissed a series of fabricated allegations being levelled by the Publisher and his co-travellers against them as a ruse and cheap blackmail.
A statement signed by Boma Akpotutari, Senior Special Assistant to Hon. Mutu said Sami has been sending series of messages and making several telephone calls to the two Federal lawmakers in the past one month, threatening to publish some unsubstantiated and frivolous allegations against them, if they could not meet his monetary request.
Specifically, he accused Mutu of parading fake school certificates, with which he has been in the House since 1999. The lawmakers, however, stated that the allegations are baseless, unfounded and a failed attempt to bring them to disrepute. Sami and his Editor, one Emmanuel Ibeleme have been inundating Mutu and Ereyitomi with text messages and letters threatening to go to press with the allegations.
In one of the letters titled, “ ALLEGATIONS OF FAKE CERTITICATES AGAINST YOU”, to Mutu , they alleged : “ We have it on good authority that the certificates you have been parading which you also used to obtain a seat in the hallowed chamber of Nigeria’s House of Representatives where you have been sitting for the past 20 years are fake.
In another text to Mutu by Sami, he said, “It’s urgent, in your interest, regarding, key documents and publication, thanks, Editor in Chief, Nig. Pilot Newspaper.” In the text message to Ereyitomi, they threatened, ” my name is Dennis Sami , Editor in Chief , Nigerian Pilot Newspaper. It’s urgent and in your interest speak very brief, thanks, accept my highest regards.
The choice of words in the various messages, no doubt, was “unjournalidtic.” Such a choice of words can easily be traced to notorious blackmailers.
But unperturbed Mutu and Ereyitomi said they have nothing to worry about, insisting that all their certificates and documents are genuine and authentic and obtained from relevant institutions they attended.
They told their accusers to think otherwise and stop dissipating their energies, spreading unfounded allegations and falsehood aimed at intimidating and extorting money from them.
They maintained an unrepentant stand not to offer bribes to stop the publication of the spurious allegations.
The lawmakers disclosed that they have explained their side of the stories to Sami, adding he was free to do his job instead of bothering them with endless telephone calls and text messages in the past one month.
The persistent calls and text messages by the Publisher and other operators of Nigeria Pilot to us in the past one month on the same subject matter have established their real intention- To intimidate and extort money from us.”
We expected them to have published whatever they have on us, long before now, and damn the consequences of their action.”
The lawmakers hinted that their Lawyers have been briefed on the development and are ready to take legal action “because, this is pure blackmail with a sole motive for extortion.
Specifically, in a letter dated May 19th, 2023, signed and forwarded to Sami by Mutu’s Lawyer, M. J. Numa, SAN, he presented all facts concerning the allegations.
Numa in the letter captioned, “RE- ALLEGATIONS OF FAKE CERFITICATES AGAINST YOU”, asked Sami to exercise caution as all the allegations being peddled have been adjudicated upon and resolved by courts of competent jurisdiction, including the election petitions tribunal and Federal High Court.
Numa said all the issuing authorities of Mutu’s certificates and other relevant authorities and stakeholders, including the National Assembly, have authenticated and confirmed them to be genuine, adding that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has also thoroughly investigated and vindicated his client.
Copies of Nigeria Pilot Newspaper’s letter to Mutu and the Lawyer’s response are hereby attached.
We are, however, alarmed that despite having provided enough information to enable Sami and his Newspaper to draw reasonable conclusions for the kangaroo publication, Sami continues to saturate the lawmaker with calls and text messages, apparently to intimidate him to meet his monetary demand.
”This so- called Sami have been pestering us , threatening to publish, we are ready for him. We will not tolerate this anymore”.