Following remarks from publisher of Sahara Reporters, Sowore attacking late close associate of the President, Ismaila Isa Funtua, on Tuesday, the presidency has threatened to release tapes of meetings between the two sides.
The senior special assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu who responded to Sowore’s claims in a statement on Tuesday, said it was unnecessary for the publisher to attack the deceased.
Shehu revealed that members of the team which included late Funtua, Sam Amuka, vanguard news publisher and Nduka Obiagbena, president and publisher of This Day newspaper, met Sowore and agreed to bail him because they saw him as a publisher despite falling foul of the law because of politics.
He said: “Let’s get the facts straight on the meeting with Sowore in SSS detention.
“First, it is important to state that the meeting was not instructed by the government. Nobody sent anybody to go and ‘negotiate’ Sowore’s freedom as he put it.
“The late Malam Isma’ila, on his own, called me to ask that I broker a meeting with him and two others with the SSS, which they agreed to.
“It is important that I state that it was the force of Malam Isma’ila’s argument that made the meeting possible. Vanguard Newspapers publisher, Sam Amuka and ThisDay Publisher and President, Nigerian Press Organisation, Nduka Obaigbena, all agreed that Sowore was a ‘rascal’, who had used his newspaper ‘to abuse all of us,’ but agreed, nonetheless to go and press for his release
“As the late Isma’ila put it, although he (Sowore) got into his problems due to politics, not journalism, the fact of him being a publisher imposed a duty on the media leaders to seek ways of making him free.
Shehu further said the meeting ended well, and that unlike what Sowore was claiming, he was happy with the proposed resolution but that his lawyer, still had to be involved before further discussions.
He continued, “The fence-mending process apparently collapsed after the meeting of the trio with the lawyer in Lagos.
“I don’t know what Sowore wants to achieve by distorting the facts of what transpired, but my advice to him is that he should stop his attacks on a dead, well-meaning intercessor.
“Knowing the way the secret service works, it should surprise no one if they keep a recording of that meeting. Faced with this posturing and the unfair attacks on the dead, we certainly will be forced to ask for the release of tapes, in case they are available for the public to judge.”