Publisher Seeks Clarifications on Queries, Threatens Legal Action

By Our Special Correspondent 

In a move that appears to be a desperate attempt to silence the Publisher and Group Editor-in-Chief of Education Monitor Group of newspapers, Waziri Isa Adam, the embattled Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Kabiru Bala, has issued three queries in one minute regarding three stories to the Publisher, just a few months before the expiration of his five-year tenure.

Education Monitor’s findings revealed that hawks around the Vice-Chancellor and major beneficiaries of his administration, who are obsessed with the publisher’s consistent watchdog role in the university, are behind this new wave of hostility. They have long been insisting that the Vice-Chancellor silence the publisher, an action they believe will be welcomed and celebrated by his admirers and foot soldiers as one of his greatest legacies.

To achieve this, the publisher, who is also a lecturer at the Mass Communication Department of the university, was issued three queries on the same day, within one minute, to explain within 48 hours why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for writing stories that allegedly portray the university in bad light.

The queries, signed by the Institution’s Deputy Registrar, Human Resources Administration, Dalhatu Salihu, cited only the captions of old stories such as “Mysterious Fire Engulfs ABU Cash Office”, “Handover Protocol…”, and “Yayale’s Appointment As ABU Pro-Chancellor: VC’s Camp Celebrate Appointment, Hopes to have Chair on its Side”. The queries claimed the stories were malicious, outrageous, false, and culpable of inciting members of the university against itself.

In his reply to the queries, the Publisher, in a letter dated June 7, 2024, appreciated the attention to the matter and willingness to explain. However, he requested clarifications on which specific paragraphs in the articles were deemed malicious, stating that without this information, it was challenging to provide a comprehensive response.

He further urged the university to specify the offending sections and explain how they allegedly incite violence or harm against the university. Once clarified, he promised to explain his reasoning, provide evidence to support his reporting, and address any concerns they may have.

Even though the Publisher said he views the queries as a deliberate attempt to stop him from publishing his much awaited, deeply researched, and revealing ‘Special Report’ on the Vice Chancellor’s five years stewardship.

The Publisher expressed shock and bewilderment at the unusual delivery of the queries to his residence by stern-looking university staff, who appeared to be security operatives, around 6:05 pm. “What was their motive for coming to my house late in the evening with handcuffs?” he wondered.

“Why the urgency in delivering the letter to me amidst my family? Why couldn’t they wait to deliver it to me the following day in my office or during working hours in the department?” He deemed the manner of delivery suspicious, suggesting that the Vice-Chancellor may be plotting something.

The Publisher however stated that any disciplinary action without clear justification would not only be unjust but also contradict principles of academic freedom and press freedom, and would be challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction.

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