By Osahon Osahon
The Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM) Worldwide, and its president, Curtis Ugbo, has threatened to drag Jethro Ibileke, Edo State Correspondent of PM NEWS to court, alleging that he (Jethro) did not seek Ugbo’s side of a story while he was locked up in police cell.
Ugbo was arrested and detained for allegedly lying against a Benin-based human rights lawyer, Olayiwola Afolabi.
He was alleged to have said that Afolabi collected the sum of N10 million from one Prince Johnson Atseleghe as a bribe in a case.
According to the report, Afolabi, while speaking with journalists, said Curtis Ugbo wrote on social media that he (Afolabi) collected N10 million from Prince Atseleghe, which he said he did not know anything about.
“He went to write on Facebook and other social media that I collected N10 million from Prince Johnson. I didn’t collect any money from Prince Johnson. Himself and one girl that is his secretary went to write on their Facebook.”
“Both of them would be charged to court tomorrow (Wednesday). Investigation has already been completed, so, tomorrow they would be charged. I have the charge sheet with me. But they have been begging,” Afolabi had said.
The said Curtis Ugbo was actually docked at the Federal Court in Benin, on Wednesday, 13 October.
But, the Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM) Worldwide, in a rebuttal published on an online blog, Popular News9ja, said that Ugbo was offended by the report, for failing to call him to hear his side, even while he was in police detention.
The group demanded for a retraction of the report or, Ugbo will go to court to seek a redress, which the journalist has challenged him to do.
In their rebuttal, one Mrs. Esohe Adun, who claimed to be the acting secretary-general of BSM, in a said: “A very poorly presented report has come to the attention of the Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM) Worldwide regarding the recent issue pitching Ambassador Curtis Eghosa Ugbo, President of the BSM with Barrister Olayiwola Afolabi, a Benin based lawyer.
“In as much that a peace process is on the way to resolve the matter through the intervention of high networth individuals, BSM is at a loss on how a so called journalist, Jethro Ibileke, would go into fiction writing to arrive at his presentation of lies mixed with inuendos.
“Ambassador Ugbo is a well known personality in Edo State who over the years has lots of journalists as his friends and associates. One would have expected Jethro to seek for Ambassador Ugbo’s own side of the story before hurriedly making his publication probably to gain acclaim in his office in Lagos that he is a guru in reporting issues pertaining to Edo State.
“His report is jaundiced as he did not deem it proper to stick to the ethics of journalism which is that all parties in a report must be given fair hearing.
“Jethro Ibileke should endeavour in his and his organisation’s interest do the needful in this regard within the next 48 hours ensuring that Ambassador Ugbo’s response enjoy an equal quantum of publicity as his earlier publication on the matter or face legal process.”
It is pertinent to note that Ugbo neither deny being arrested and detained by the police nor being charged to court or negotiating with Barr. Afolabi.
It was further gathered that he slept overnight in police cell, charged to court. But, with intervention of prominent people like Frank Irabor from Benin Palace and others, Barr. Afolabi decided to withdraw the charge against him and allow the matter to rest.
For the above reason, Benin Solidarity Movement and Curtis Ugbo have been asked to go to court.