The management of Economic Confidential, an Abuja-based economy-focused magazine, says it will not bow to alleged threats and blackmail of a part-time Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Clinton Jaja.
Managing Editor and Director of the magazine, Mr. Ewache Ajefu, in a statement on Tuesday alleged that Jaja is hell-bent on smearing the image of the country’s media.
According to him, the NCC Governing Board Chairman has been threatening media houses to drop a report on the response of the Director-General (DG) of the agency, John Asein, to his detractors.
Ajefu, in his statement titled, “Clinton Jaja and the Orchestrated Attempt to Media Blackmail,” reads: “The attention of Economic Confidential has been drawn to an orchestrated attempt by one Mr. Tonye Clinton Jaja, a part-time Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to drag the name of our media in the mud, by threatening media houses to drop a report on the response of the Director-General of the agency, John Asein to his detractors.
“In our efforts to fight corruption, especially in the public service our media welcome credible information from reliable sources.
“While investigating NCC, Tonye Clinton Jaja was not only among sources that provided useful information to Economic Confidential in the initial report on the NCC DG but played a major role in facilitating some documents against the DG, John Asein (See the report: DG Copyright Commission Caught in Web of Corruption, Abuse of Office https://cutt.ly/nccweb)
“However, when we sighted an official memo by the Presidency rejecting an unwholesome request of Tonye Clinton Jaja to be made Full term Chairman of NCC among other unbecoming attitudes, we became curious.
“In the said memo to Tonye Clinton Jaja dated 2nd March 2020 and signed by the Legal Adviser in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Emmanuel E. Akissa stated thus: ‘Your application, which is strange and inconsistent with the public service rules and your recent activities, have clearly demonstrated a conflict of interest situation and therefore casts doubt on your ability to continue to offer neutral and effective leadership to the Copyright Commission as the Board Chairman. It is clear that peace will elude the Commission going forward.’
“When other opinions came up on the issue for balance and fair hearing, we find it compelling to do a follow-up in the second report by reflecting a statement of the DG to clear his name on the allegations. Hence, we used John Asein’s response in our second story in order to balance the initial report, in accordance with the extant principle of balanced reporting. (See the report Public Service Rules: Copyright Commission Boss, John Asein Replies Detractors https://cutt.ly/asein)
“Few days after the second publication, we were shocked beyond utter disbelief learning that Tonye Clinton Jaja wrote to Editors of some media houses, asking them to drop the stories they published from the Economic Confidential on the response of the NCC DG..
“It is imperative for us to put on record that Dr. Tonye Clinton Jaja sent a barrage of SMS, WhatsApp, and email messages to Economic Confidential Editor and also physically visited our Abuja office several times in the course of our first investigative report against the DG NCC John Asein.
“But even more distressing is the fact that on the basis of the second report, Jaja went to the extent of threatening to take unwholesome actions against the media houses, after calling and exchanging correspondences with the Editors of Economic Confidential and other media organizations.
“In the light of the threat issued by the part-time Chairman of the NCC Board, and the fact that he could abuse his position for mischief, the Economic Confidential hereby urge the media concerned to disregard the threat as we are taking further actions on the said Clinton Jaja’s unethical conducts.
“Equally, we also wish to state that the Economic Confidential has clips of telephone conversations as well as his correspondences that are unbefitting of a part-time chairman of a regulatory body, a lawyer for that matter and surprisingly a public servant in another agency of government in his attempt to compromise fairness and objectivity in editorial judgement.
“Therefore, we wish to inform Mr. Tonye Clinton Jaja that Economic Confidential and other media outfits cannot and would never be cowed to do his sinister bidding no matter the orchestrated threats and campaign of calumny.
“See attached a memo by The presidency on the Character of Mr. Tonye Clinton Jaja,” it concluded.