Tobore Ovuorie’s story: Premium Times of Nigeria responds to Ikhide

Dear Ikhide:

I notice you have been doing quite some heavy lifting in the library, drilling holes in the recent PREMIUM TIMES coverage of the nefarious human trafficking trade, another blight on our problematic national image profile.

I have been on a drenching road fatigue for a while and just got some wiggle room to respond to you. First let me say that this is something important to do. If we insist that a decent democracy cannot exist without a decent press, it goes without saying that we who work on this side of the aisle must be ready to subject our practice to attentive scrutiny.

At any rate, because PREMIUM TIMES defines its practice strictly in the ambience of investigative reporting, it will be hypocritical to expect that its work will not attract strict inquiry from friends and foes.  We welcome this.

After your review, I notice also that a number of comments have followed in its tow, some insightful, and a whole lot flippant.  I shall try to offer insight and responses to some of your now famous seven questions in the hope that those who share vision with the issues you raised will find some retort here too.

Many of the concerns about our report, in so far as they deal exclusively with the form rather than the content of the article, announces for me the moral texture and internal coherence of a new generation of Nigerian citizenry, and the challenge this poses for us in building a society of justice, where the human rights and dignity of the Nigerian are paramount.

Quite frankly, one cannot but feel mystified, that such massive real estate of print space, and time, was lavishly devoted to when, how, where, and why a cell phone got used or was not used in a story that speaks essentially to the moral decay of a nation where the best of our youth have no future outside a new wave of slave trade.

This immediately recalls for me the dilemma of Robert Jordan in Hemingway’s masterpiece For Whom The Bell Tolls, when the idealistic republican, at that great moment in history where the larger human community faces its greatest existential threat, suddenly comes to awareness that in the campaign against the radical evil of fascism, there is an uneven level of preparedness among the anti-Falangist forces.

In amusement, I notice the ambivalence in your review as you tried to challenge the veracity of the story.  This is how you put it: “How sophisticated can this syndicate be if they allow the girls keep their cell phones and presumably let them continue to chat with the outside world? There are so many tracking devices on a cell phone, you wonder if and why the game plan of the reporter did not include these free tools.”

Let’s cut to the chase. The logic in your question is erected on the assumption of the implausibility of infiltrating a syndicate and still use a cell phone.  Thus, on account of your logic, if one gets to operate a cell phone in the environment of the syndicate, then the story automatically becomes false. Seriously? Sorry, this is either empty or dubious.

Perhaps you understand the operations of syndicates better, but we had no one to share the operating manual of syndicates with us while we were planning this investigation. So this construction of the watertight processes of the syndicate is your own construction, which cannot be imposed on the story. When Tobore was to report to boot camp, all they asked her to bring was “a lot of clothes” but when she got to camp she found to her surprise that some of them came with no more than a few days wardrobe.  What do you make of this?

One reasonable conclusion is that there are no standard rules. Would this explain the use of phones and other facilities? Would Tobore who is undercover, a fact unknown to all but her, act logically in every instance?

Since this is the basis of your logic of believability let me comment a little further on the question regarding the sophisticated level of the syndicate, and the ease of entry and growth within the gang.

Why is it difficult for you to understand that any syndicate in the world can be penetrated, and that ones growth path within the syndicate ultimately depends on ones ability to assimilate its orientation and, so to say, to domesticate that new environment?

Are the pleasures of exile hindering an appreciation of a simple puzzle? Certainly this can’t be too difficult for any serious reporter, and Tobore, a 33-year old doctoral candidate in psychology, who, by the way, you relentlessly, and paternalistically, characterize as a baby that cannot take responsibility for her choices, is the last person in the class who does not know how to domesticate her environment.

Let me refer you to something in your adopted country when talking of breaching sophisticated syndicates. Perhaps you have read how, eighteen months ago, [July 28, 2012], the walls of the United States Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF), where more than 10,000 nuclear bombs are stored, were breached, at Oak Ridge, in the State of Tennessee.

As it turned out, this breach of the world’s most secured facility was not the work of terrorists, but that of a group of three elderly peace activists, including an 82-year old nun, armed only with flashlights, binoculars, bolt cutters, bread, flowers, Bible, and who, by the way scaled three perimeter fences, including an eight-foot fence. There is a lesson here not to mystify reality.  Please search and read the details of this story in motherjones.com.

At Premium Times, the central core of our mission is seeking and reporting the truth, and in doing this we insist on acting independently. Which is why I will ask that you direct your other questions to the appropriate law enforcement or statutory agencies. We have done our work and others will interpret where their own mandate starts.

One thing is sure, no one can fault this story on the grounds of truth, accuracy, and the principle of fairness that form the normative frame of our work. There are those who, genuinely, seek completeness beyond what we have offered here. Our response is simple. Investigative reporting takes time, it’s expensive, it’s risky, and it’s continuous.

I am however amused when you claimed that the article built “skepticism” in some Nigerians. As evidence, you even hyperlinked the drivel of the gentleman [obviously some school boy ineptly memorizing his lecture notes backward] who describes the article as “trash, full of fictions and poorly constructed…[and that] it lacks basic pragmatic and discourse qualities (i.e cohesion, coherent, intertextuality, acceptability, intentionality and informativeness).”

I think this is taking literary theory too trivial. What really was the gentleman saying in those lines? Are you sure you understood him?

Tobore’s report, for instance, was commissioned in May last year, taking her through five states in the country, a country in far Asia, and a neighbouring West African country. It was only completed in November.  What is included or excluded in the final report is a matter of pure editorial judgment.

We salute her staying power, incredible courage, and resolute will and those of our partners and staff who played different roles in bringing this important story to light. We pay tribute to the motivation that drove Tobore to the assignment, the expression of genuine humanity through which we get to appreciate the deficiency of compassion, and the depth of horror of what man can do to another man for the sake of money in our country today. Nigerian journalism is the richer for her sacrifices.

Our challenge to those who think that infiltrating and reporting about this sex slavery mafia, or any mafia for that matter, is a simple mouthing con game, the type you said your son tried to play with his Galaxy cell phone is, give it a shot. Nigerian journalism, after all, can only be the better for this.

Those who are familiar with our work know that we have never, and shall never take our readers for granted.  Recall that when you embarked on a campaign to rubbish one of our investigative reports last year, our editor counseled you to tread carefully and not side with peddlers of falsehoods and haters of good journalism. How do you feel now that the story remains substantially unchallenged till date?

Thus, those who think they have holes to drill in the human trafficking story and our other reports are warmly welcome provided they are ready to deal beyond the mere form of the stories and engage the substantive contents.

We have no appetite to deal with the range of cheap gossip that leads to no progress for our much-abused country, and the elevation of the highest ideals of the profession of journalism.

I hope you can accommodate this response in your justly famous blog.

Be well, my brother.

Dapo Olorunyomi

Editor-in-chief/Managing Director, Premium Times, Nigeria

51 thoughts on “Tobore Ovuorie’s story: Premium Times of Nigeria responds to Ikhide”

  1. Pa Ikhide! Pa Olorunyomi match u die! See gobe! Kai!!! I trust sha say u go return. No fall my hand o. We dey enjoy the ‘fisticuffs’.

  2. “Let’s cut to the chase. The logic in
    your question is erected on the
    assumption of the implausibility of
    infiltrating a syndicate and still use a
    cell phone. Thus, on account of your
    logic, if one gets to operate a cell
    phone in the environment of the
    syndicate, then the story
    automatically becomes false.
    Seriously? Sorry, this is either empty
    or dubious.

    This to me is a cause of worry… You don’t need rocket science to decipher the use of cell phones is not condoned by this people. Its not an imposed knowledge.

    1. While I am not standing in for Premium Times, I must tell you that in 2007, when I worked for the Alliance for Credible Elections, I was making placards to protest the stealing of the people’s mandate on May Day. I had written about 20 protest signs already when the SSS stormed the compound.

      They walked me into the duplex that was our office, and went about the process of arresting our General Secretary, Mr Emma Ezeazu. There were arguments over who authorised us to make those placards. I was taking photos of the armed men. It seemed like I was invisible. They took Mr Ezeazu away. I took photos. I wrote a press release and the news broke.

      Can you believe my story now as I tell it? No. But I still have those pictures.

  3. Hm, talk of dogon turanci, as the Hausa would say. Sorry, Mr. Olorunyomi, you have said everything but how a story that spans months to do was eventually reduced to a stuff that lacks chronological timing. Even your response is loaded with a few questionable statements.
    For example, That Tobore investigated the story partly in Asia is a lie. Which Asian country, pray? Is it Malaysia where she had participated in the Women Deliver Program late May 2013? She arrived the conference two days late (with tales that the foreign airline she was to travel with asked her to produce the credit card with which her ticket was bought, even when the airline knew quite well that her e-ticket was paid for in the U.S.!) and left on the eve the conference ended. So, where did she do investigation about human trafficking in Asia? By the way, as of May 2013, Tobore was still with National Mirror, and I think she left the medium after she returned from Malaysia. Did she carry over the investigation from The National Mirror; or did the Premium Times commission her while she was still with another employer?
    Besides, was it the same syndicate that was shuffling her through the states or she infiltrated more than one syndicate in the course of “several months” of doing the story? What about the addresses of the places at Agege, Ota and Abeokuta? That some old, frail people invaded a nuclear facility in America does not necessarily authenticate Tobore’s fiction. It is not enough to appeal to the so-called integrity of your medium, convince the world that this writer hadn’t made up the story.
    And may I also advise you that it is impolite to call people names simply because they don’t share your view, as you did Ikhide and others who faulted Tobore’s story. If the public are your readers, then I suppose they also have the right to express their feelings — including doubts — about what you feed them with.

    1. I must say I endorsed Tobore’s petition too quickly, if the editor’s attitude towards questions of authenticating their story is taking critisisim personally, I have read Daniel Johnson’s reply, which I quiet like. I don’t think Mr Ikhide was out of order to question the timeline of the investigation and ascertain the authenticity of the investigation or the write up as a whole. We are the audience you write your paper and we are interested in what is real from beginning to the end, not somewhat real.

  4. It’s interesting how writers gentlemanly draw & quarter. Reading the story too I had my reservations. I was imagining how lucky this Tobore is. It was from former V.P Atiku. Abubakar twitter handle I first heard of d story, & since He took it serious, I too think it serious.

  5. Let me add to this. She said her phone was ceased while they where leaving for Cotonou That is why there are no pictures or voice recordings. Let me ask if you are going undercover with a phone that can snap picture, wouldn’t the phone also have internet facility? Why was no picture or voice recording uploaded so that it could be retrieved latter?

  6. Dapo Olorunyomi is not tolerant of opposing views and keeps fighting here and there. When I read it, I thought it was fiction too and had doubts therefore thousands of people thought like Pa Ikhide. I respect Ikhide for not been a coward but for being bold enough to challenge Premium Times!

    Olorunyomi should tell us his reporter’s qualifications and institutions plus training she took to qualify as a journalist or shut up! How many people will he fight because of Premium Times? Pa Ikhide will have the last laugh, I can assure you that because the report was like a story… Is that how reporters write feature articles in Nigeria? O ma se o!

  7. And I put it to anybody that if that story were real, Ms Tobore would have shuddered to illustrate it with her photograph. Ha, for someone who allegedly witnessed gruesome beheading and other gory incidents, won’t she be justifiably afraid to use her photograph, considering that the people she had led to believe that she was a genuine prostitute in search of better deal in Italy might turn against her in deadly anger? Whoever steps on mafia’s toes and goes scot-free, especially a reporter with no police protection as it were? And nobody should regale us with lies that Tobore has gone underground, else they should tell us when she did, knowing full well that she still tweeted up til Tuesday or so! Premium Times, kindly apologize for this farce called investigative story and move ahead. It’s the honorable path to take. And here’s calling on foreign embassies in Nigeria to reject any application by Tobore for asylum; it’s a ruse, as no one is after her life because the story is not true. Her photo says it all before it was yanked off the page. In fact, what kind of editor would expose his/her reporter to danger if the story were real? For all I know, in real investigations of this type, a pseudonym would have been used, while a letter written on the company’s letterhead and duly stamped and signed by the editor/publisher will be given to the reporter, authenticating that she wrote the story and explaining why a pseudonym was used. But all these commonsensical precautions were jettisoned because the write-up was a pack of lies. And what does anybody stand to gain from all the cyber brick-bats that have attended the story since it was published?

    1. The worrying thing about your argument is that you are too cock-sure of what you are saying. The arguments you make, though ‘food for thought’ in no way prove the case in a way you (and many here) believe takes it beyond reasonable doubt. That you are not willing to consider the possibility that you all could be completely wrong is in itself quite arrogant, and should ring alarm bells for anyone truly interested in fairly weighing the possibilities.Your ‘points’ are even more contestable than the flaws in the story itself.
      In fact, let’s play you at your own game: You actually sound like you are trying far too hard and one can be forgiven for suspecting that you are here strictly to divert attention from the substance of the story; employed by practitioners within the ‘industry’. Indeed, you could be one of them yourself. Such individuals couldn’t have made a better ‘case’.
      See? How does that feel?

      Rather than have your reservations whilst keeping an open mind for the possible revelation of more facts (as is bound to happen), you attempt to close down the whole debate. Why? Are you not the least concerned that this whole trafficking thing, with its ritualistic murders and prostitution is right here with us, on our doorstep? That there are holes in the story is no reason to dismiss it, not least because of the seriousness of the matter. Let the investigations continue.

      What is important is that, true or false, there SHOULD be outrage that trafficking is going on with horrendous consequences for young women. It is not about this story. Or about the reporter. O about the newspaper. Focussing on the trivial is simply burying your head in the sand. You KNOW these things are happening: you just don’t want to deal with it.
      In which case, it makes you far more of a coward than Tobore is. At least, she ‘fabricated’ a story to draw attention to an evil in our midst – much more than can be said for you.

      PS: I don’t work for PT; I don’t know anyone that works for them and I have never heard of or met Tobore – just in case you come at me with that tired argument.
      Cheers.

      1. It’s never been in doubt that we have women been trafficked in Nigeria, but frabeicated an experience about trivialises the issue more than it helps it, sweeping the supposed fabrication under the carpet like you said and we should focus on the issue is a ridiculous idea. We should focus on both

      2. No one has ever doubted the fact that human trafficking takes place in Nigeria; nor can any sane person support it. The issue here is that of fouling the ethics of a profession: Did this reporter experience what she claims, OR is it just a figment of the imagination of brilliant liar? It is absolutely irresponsible of anyone to claim to have experienced what she hadn’t, as many people rightly suspect here. The burden of proof is on PT and it’s rather taking unduly too long to do so. This story is a lie. Prove the critics wrong, PT.

  8. It takes little to dismantle this story that says ‘Busted”. No one was busted, please refer to the meaning of busted this was a job to shaft the government. No a single name or criminal was revealed

  9. Well, Uncle Dapsy you lied!you can’t cover up the mess that Tobore has brought upon your “credible medium”.Tobore had not started working with you in May. We were together at Women Deliver in Malaysia, May 27-30 and she was still communicating with her editor in National Mirror which she showed to me several times during the intenational conference. So when did she start this “investigation” for you in May while working for National mirror?

    You cant distort some facts sir, We. won’t let you!Tobore only narrated and added some juice to experiences of those who have been trafficked before .
    Am not surprised that she was not able to give a proper account because you can’t share what you did not experience.
    Your explanation is annoyingly lame and incoherent for an intellectual that I know you are sir.

    What is substantive about the spurious claims in ds story?Emphasis on the word story!how was she recruited?even when they suspected that she was not who she said she was, they still kept her?Common!These are traffickers not travel agents!They beheaded two people before her and she could not even offer any description? She also did this story without working with any agency or NGO working against trafficking in the country! how was she going to be rescued?ds is dubious of the reporter and her editors.

    Then she conveniently had a phone with her in a trafficking journey…hmmm.sir, you don’t want to know what is going through my mind.traffickers would laugh at this notion for hours!

    Then,” miraculously” and am quoting from what your medium published,( I wonder when miracles started happening in journalism) she left a trafficking ring in a 007 style and was right on time to meet with Reece, whom she supposedly met via Facebook even though she had no phone and cash on her.

    Sir,this story was cooked and you know it.The respectful thing to do is to apologise to your readers, Mr Olorunyomi.
    Don’t put your integrity on the line for a girl like Tobore who obviously has a dubious nature.
    It was very reckless not courageous as you claim for Premium Times to have approved and published falsehood.
    You have done a great disservice to journalism,Nigeria and your intellectual readers.
    But instead of cowering in shame, you’re using unnecessary English to save face.
    I salute Ikihide,I salute him for echoing aloud what we,the discerning,thought when we read Tobores lies.
    This is not the first time that your ‘Tobore, a 33-year old doctoral candidate in psychology'(am sure that’s d lie she told you)would be stealing stories and experiences of others as “investigation”.
    You must have thought your Nigerian audience would be as gullible as the international one who are ready to believe the worst about Nigeria.
    You miscalculated, this are not times to underestimate the intelligence of Nigerians.
    Premium Times is so desperate for international cred,grants and awards so much that the medium could not resist publishing fiction even when it knew that’s what Tobore brought to the table.

    To think that I thought that you and your medium were a breath of fresh air to the media landscape!
    We have the hash tag #Premiumtimes lies…Mr Olorunyomi,don’t tempt us to use it!

    1. Ibukun, I could just give you a big hug right now and vigorous hand shake for this response and I will eagerly be awaiting Mr Olorunyomi’s reply as well. When I was reading his above article my red alert antenna was on saying “why is this man on the defensive” all that needs to be done is expanciate the content of the investigative story(if there ever was one) or don’t respond at all, because this further complicate the issue.

    2. Ibukun, pele, if everything that has been provided does not fit into your calculations. Reading through your contributions makes me feel pity for you. I can only imagine the headache you must be having trying to not only discredit the report, but also the reporter, the person of Dapo and the medium.

      After all this fight, i hope you get rewarded for this “humanitarian” service you and Pa Ikhide and his other disciples have rendered to humanity. I think Dapo has been more than gracious to have provided you guys with a modest response in a civilized manner.

      I wonder how you would feel if this does not end the way you’re expecting and the reward expected does not come.

      I certainly do not think you guys deserve any other response from Premium Times going forward, because your intentions are now clear.

      1. What reward is anybody expecting and from who by criticizing this lie? Can’t you guys get it: this story isn’t new, nor did the ‘reporter’ go anywhere, much less a sex camp, as an undercover reporter to do the story (yes, story!) PT owes its numerous readers full explanation for this breach of public trust; and any credible medium that PT wants us to believe it is should not find it offensive to address our fear and suspicion. Haba!!

  10. I truly lack words to express my feelings. I can only say that if we were in the days when the gods of thunder and lightening were the instruments of justice this matter would have been settled by now. It is morally wrong and ethically wicked to play with people’s emotions as Premium lies oh sorry Times has just done. This is unforgiveable and unacceptable. More so because I had considered myself a coward for not doing my doctorial thesis on the topic, reason I was scared for my life. The story maybe spiced up but. The fact is Human Trafficking is real. It was started when Joseph was trafficked by his eleven brothers and will still continue. The onus lies on us to do the much we can to stop this ugly trend.

  11. It’s sheer idleness, shallow mentality, looking for an avenue to gain cheap popularity and outright illogicality for one to challenge a story based on trafficking because this is what happens even in the next compound you stay. Many social vices happen everyday, some may sound incredible but the truth is nothing is impossible. So, before you challenge the crediblity of a story, ask yourself questions. Especially when you dont actually know if the person was an undercover agent.

    1. Rita, God bless you. I am more outraged at those who are expending all their energy on the ‘politics’ of the matter, rather than use this as an opportunity to trigger a national debate on women trafficking and all the evils that go with it. It is not as if anyone has finally ‘proved’ the story to be false; they have simply raised genuine concerns at its authenticity. And now you have people piling in as if they *know* the story to she false.
      They say the ‘fabricated’ story ‘trivialises’ the issue. But NOBODY WAS DOING OR SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT TRAFFICKING IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!
      As with all things Nigerian, we ‘chop bone, leave rice’….caught up in the side issues. A lot of this in my view is about guilt and selfishness. Nigerians will never put their lives on the line for anyone or anything, and feel quite guilty when they come across the rare person that does. So, even without a fully convincing argument, they too easily come down on the side of sceptism. Dismissingbthebstory makes it that bit easier to move on and forget about what is happening to those they do not know or come across. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ as they say.
      I see no outrage at the subject matter. Just hypocritical outrage at the journalist, the paper and its editor.
      As if anyone was ever doing or saying jack about trafficking.
      Misdirected energy I say.

      1. Please get it right. Journalism is about TRUTH, not fiction. Tobore’s story is a fiction, no more no less. If you want to tell the story of the evil of human trafficking with a fiction, no problem but don’t label it an exclusive investigative NEWS story. That’s what we are saying! Go ahead and call us all the names you like. In a decent society, Tobore and Premier Times should be appearing before an ethics committee now to defend the wicked lies..

      2. Tunde Premium Times Munis, the question remains: did Tobore go as undercover agent to do this story or not? We all know that human trafficking happens here. But we are talking of journalism now. Did Tobore experience what she said she did? That’s the issue, not whether or not human trafficking happens or not. And it is asinine of you to conclude that anybody who faults the PT story is giving tacit approval to human trafficking. Far from it! Many people view journalists as liars who concoct stories that don’t happen. This contentious story only seems to lend credence to that untrue assumption. So, you are doing a disservice to the profession that puts food on your table. That’s the critics’ grouse. Address it.

      3. Gold-C, you ‘trivialise’ (that word again!) your argument by calling me Tunde ‘PT’ Munis…..how silly. By doing that, you resort to the same shallow tactics that PT have eventually resorted to – accusing those with a different point of view as being ‘sponsored’ by those with a vested interest. I know it can be difficult for us Nigerians to see others as being altruistic, but sometimes u have to rise above that level. If you could not see the need to give the PT adequate time to respond to its critics rather than taking the absolute view, then you really were not interested in a fair hearing or the truth. That was my point 10 days ago. It has sadly turned out that in those 10 days, PT not only has nothing new to offer, but the expected revelations have been coming thick and fast and do PT absolutely no favours. This is what I was arguing for. I don’t jump on bandwagons. I always try and give the opportunity to make a case, no matter how hopeless it seems. However, it appears that in your book, such caution amounts to being sponsored by ‘paymasters’, and you have not enough insight to recognise that knee-jerk reactions serve no real purpose other than to crank up the emotional volume on all sides.
        I don’t live in a simplistic world that dictates that you must be ‘against’ me if you are not ‘for’ me. Or that being of a different POV means you must be working for a paymaster.
        That’s just plain twisted.

      4. @Ken…what YOU are saying focuses on journalism and its ethics. What I am saying is that the ethics of the profession is the lesser story here. Have you noticed how all the debate is almost exclusively about ‘lies, damn lies and (even) statistics’?
        Again I ask ‘where is the outrage’?
        Oh dear…. We’ve expended it all on PT.
        Maybe next time……

  12. I have lost all the respect I had for Premium Times because of this Editor, Dapo Olorunyomi, not because of Tobore, who lacked the common sense to call the cops, a friend or a relative to get help after “witnessing” two gruesome murders. This is a disgrace to this noble profession called Journalism.

  13. I tried so hard to find what was supposed to be a clear defence of his publication’s story, following Dapo Olorunyomi to his very last word, but all I got was a lot of language. It was as if he felt all he needed to do was bore the reader with endless chatter about the matter instead of answering the questions and then hope we all just turn away tired and leave the matter. If I had entertained any uncertainty about whether or not Premium Times published an untrue, possibly made-up story, I no longer do after reading Olorunyomi’s supposed defence.

    Afam

  14. What I still can’t wrap my head around, is how we can’t seem to separate the issue from the person. Is it possible to have a healthy, forward thinking discussion about the topic without resorting to attacks on individuals who have done nothing but air their honest opinions? Is it possible?

    1. That is my problem too. Discussing how the ‘fake’ story was put together distracts us from discussing the real issue itself.

    2. And the fact that the police have not even bothered to make a statement, either totally discrediting the story, or assuring us they are ‘looking into it’ says a lot in itself and can be read either way. No way should any self-respecting police force be silent on an issue as serious as this.

  15. Toborelies!

    Am glad that Using uncle Dapsy’s words,lets cut to the chase,when will this ” undercover cop cum reporter” confess to her editors at Premium Times that she wrote this story from the experiences of victims that were shared at a three-day workshop organised by NAPTIP in collaboration with UNODC in Benue State, which she attended?

    The torture she claimed she experienced while in the sex camp was what the facilitators told us-the participants at the workshop and what they have been relating to anybody who cares to talk to NAPTIP officials before they carry out an investigation on human trafficking in Nigeria.

    From Mama Caro to the strip tease and orgy in the hotel in Abuja, those were what the facilitators from NAPTIP shared with her from their previous sting operations.

    This is not to undermine NAPTIP credibility, it is just to say that NAPTIP is not the agency that will investigate the ‘Nollywood-like crimes’ that the reporter claims she saw. In fact,they were unknowingly the originator of the story.

    Why this reporter,will boldly say she experienced those things when she did not is my grouse!This is a serious ethical breach that i strongly recommend that the NUJ and Press Council should take up.

    Need i say that Tobores action could discredit future investigative stories on human trafficking that would be written by credible journalists in the country.

    Pa Ikhide,while you are also doing your own findings, please reach out to the journalists that attended the media workshop on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in Makurdi,Benue last year.
    Am glad that one of the particpants has spoken already.

    Thank you.

  16. Dapo,
    Thank you for your articulate response to Ikhide’s challenges. While you demonstrate impeccable writing skills, you have not put forward any facts or points of value. You have been unable to match Ikhide’s write up with substance. Your response can be compared to a sheathed blunt knife, it is ineffective ! Try harder, perhaps with some evidence.

  17. Tobore’s story is clearly outlandish and the editors reply is filled with insults and blackmail. This story cannot fly in saner climes where accountability is required for all actions written and unwritten. Nigeria’s image and reputation is at stake here and the government must investigate for the world to determine the authenticity of the story. I also think PREMIUM TIMES must show more concern than others that the report for which it’s staff risked her life is not receiving proper attention from any of the organs of government. This brand of journalism needs a new name.

  18. I see a lot of vile here against Premium Times and the investigative reporter. My thinking is that most people bandying the “fake story” theory are doing so, not on any personal verification or otherwise of the facts put out by the reporter, but by the assumptions Pa Ikhide writing from America. Where has our independent sense of judgement and logical reasoning gone?

    Just because we are not exposed to issues personally or that Tobore’s stories didn’t sound like movie producers and Ikhide wants us to believe doesn’t make it false. I tire for this “social generation” sha.

  19. I have tried to follow all the issues raised about this report. While i am glad Pa Ikhide was able to raise some questions about the report, i honestly do not see any basis for resulting to attacking personalities.

    I am happy also that Dapo responded to Pa Ikhide, but with the way Pa Ikhide is handling the issue i doubt if he and his followers would be dignified with another response.

    In the light of all the accusations i have had to sit back to ask myself what Dapo would be gaining by fabricating a tale such as this. Dapo has been around for a while when we talk about the struggle to liberate Nigeria from the shackles of repression and oppression right from the military era. I have read articles about what he and his family members had to suffer in the hands of our military dictators.

    In as much as i am not saying he is infallible, he wouldn’t in anyway support cooked up report as purported by you, to be published by a medium he has worked hard to build for the past two years.

    If there are still unanswered questions, it’s good to keep asking them. But trying to play a hero by casting aspersions on his personality is quite cheap and disappointing.

    I hope we all get what we want out of this report.

  20. Reading Marcel Ojinnaka’s post on Ikhide R. Ikheloa’s facebook wall made me very sad! I think this matter has got to a stage where all those who have details of what happened and how it happened should speak up. I am one of them but for now I would remain anonymous for reasons that I am not at liberty to disclose. Let us consider the following:

    A. What has Musikilu Mojeed’s reputation got to do with the fact that Tobore’s story is full of inaccuracies, obvious fabrications and annoying exaggerations? Are our complaints about Mojeed’s reputation or Tobore’s story? If indeed, Mojeed is a senior journalist that is worthy of the adulations of those who claim to know him, then this badly-written, poorly-researched and hastily-put-together story has done great harm to this stated reputation. Moreover, in the famous New York Times plagiarism case, Jayson Blair, the journalist who was later sacked for fabricating and stealing stories and quotes had well-respected editors. Two of them, senior editors, even had to resign when his articles and quotes were later found out to have been fabricated.
    B. That she carried the story over from Mirror is not likely to be true. I am aware that Zam Chronicles commissioned the story, a fact that Premium Times admitted to. The question is: When Zam commissioned the story, who was contacted to do it? Was it National Mirror, Tobore or Premium Times? In fact, Zam contacted a Nigerian journalist who is based in the United Kingdom that it wanted to commission a story sometimes last year and the journalist asked ZAM to contact PT in Nigeria. Her former editor and the health editor of National Mirror should be able to tell us if she had started such a story before she left them.
    C. If she went undercover in November, when and where did she receive treatment for the trauma she allegedly underwent? When was she discharged? For how long was she there? Which hospital did she go to? Can we have the medical records? (Even though we know that her medical records are private and personal but the controversy surrounding the story has made the issue a matter of public interest). The Tobore that was at the conference in December was the life of the conference. She was bubbly, talkative and the soul of everything that transpired there. Someone that almost got beheaded, did stunts at the border and checked into a hospital won’t be the most talkative person with the brightest makeup in a human trafficking class. She did not betray any sign of distress even when the heart-rending stores of those who have been victims were told in the class.
    D. How come the names and examples mentioned in the class are the same names in Tobore’s report which was published after the human trafficking class?
    E. It is also strange that Premium Times claims to have enough evidence to prove that the story is not a fabrication would only share these materials with their friends.
    F. I also do not think that a diary written and complied by a reporter whose integrity and honesty is being questioned by readers because of the loose ends and obvious fabrications in her story should be taken seriously by anybody. What if the content of the diary are also doctored or written only after the controversy had started?

    No, we need more than a timeline; we need answers to Ikhide’s seven questions:

    1. Why is the Nigerian Police silent on this story?
    2. When she witnessed the beheading of two abducted girls, she had her phone (or seemed to). Who did she text? Who did she call? Forensic experts can learn a lot from these transcripts.
    3. At what point did she and her sponsors realize that this was possibly an unwise venture and she needed to be rescued? Where there any discussions about this?
    4. I am having trouble believing that she did not text any of the pictures that were in her cellphone to someone else. That just seems unlikely. Does anyone have pictures or anything?
    5. How sophisticated can this syndicate be if they allow the girls keep their cellphones and presumably let them continue to chat with the outside world? There are so many tracking devices on a cellphone, you wonder if and why the game plan of the reporter did not include these free tools.
    6. Ovuorie seemed close to the two girls who were beheaded, does she have their phone numbers? Can they be traced back to their families? Why are people silent about all this?
    7. The report talks of a “multibillion dollar syndicate” but the “syndicate” doesn’t appear very sophisticated, a reporter walks the streets asking for the leader and is promptly hooked up with one, gains the trust of the syndicate and along with the other “abducted girls” has access to her cellphone and even a charge.

    I will add more questions:
    8. How come a story that spanned that long is a single person narrative?
    9. Who are the people that saw Tobore running at the border? Where is the store located and what is is the name and description of the store owner or people in the store? Didn’t they ask her questions when she ran into the store? Didn’t they try to rescue her? What was their reaction?
    10. Everything Recee said was what Tobore narrated to her. Recee was not a witness in Tobore’s story. She did not rescue her. Tobore rescued herself at Seme and took a taxi to meet Recee in Cotonou. We should not forget this. No other person that we know of has said he or she witnessed what happened at the border. And that is one of the things I find worrisome about this entire story. Everything came from Tobore. No other voice except voices who spoke through her.
    11. PT is under pressure and they will respond in due time? But they’ve been talking to their friends who are explaining on PT’s behalf on social media. Can PT use the time they are using to give explanations to their friends to explain to the public?

    Pa Ikhide, please I implore you not to get distracted. Please don’t personalise this scandal, let’s stick to the facts. PT is trying to play the distraction game. Let them answer all our questions. Even if we ignore the fact that she was tweeting or where the story came from or her editor’ s perceived reputation, should we also ignore a story full of lies written for self-glorification?
    The earlier these questions are answered, the better. PT should not try to cover-up or play the waiting game. We have so much to expose.

  21. The failed reporter should defend herself instead of her editor. Being a psychologist does qualify anybody as a journalist. The feature article was badly written. The truth is very bitter indeed. No editor with years of training should allow such trash to be published without editing and re-writing. The reporter needs journalistic training .

  22. Why did Dapsy attack Pappy Ikhide like that? I hope it was not love wantintin? Dapsy behaved as if more dey for the failed reporter who put this ‘fight’ forward.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s