Moral, Legal and Press War between Nigerian Vanguard Newspaper and US-based PointBlankNews.com: Goliath vs. David
Beneath the accusations, counter-accusations and spin by Nigerian Vanguard newspaper, United States-based Pointblanknews.com, the freelance reporter, the publishers and their representatives lay the truth of the matter; however, some key unanswered questions remain…..
New York --- Regular readers of Nigerian-based Vanguard Newspaper, and United States-based Pointblanknews.com must have observed what appear to be moral, legal and press wars raging between the two news outfits.
Some observers liken the ensuing battle between the two news outfits to biblical and monumental fight between giant Goliath and small David.
The crux of the matter
The crux of the matter was Pointblanknews.com publication of news story in December 2008 stating that Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka-Pemu, wife of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu was arrested in Lagos, Nigeria for beheading unnamed 14 years old boy at a shrine/location somewhere in Lagos as part of growing practice of ritual killing and ritual sacrifice common in some African countries particularly, Nigeria.
One Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa, reportedly a freelance reporter based in Lagos, Nigeria broke the story while Pointblanknews.com published it with photos on its online news service.
Pointblanknews.com account (Breaking News)
Pointblanknews.com published the news of Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka-Pemu arrest by officers of Nigeria police in Lagos, Nigeria; as well as photographs of a woman and others performing, as well as photos of the woman and others in handcuffs. According to Pointblanknews.com, the woman on the photos was Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka-Pemu, wife of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu.
Pointblanknews.com also reported that Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka was detained by the police for some days, and that she paid 4 million Naira bribe to the officers of the Nigerian Police Force in Lagos that arrested her, after which she was released and fled to London.
According to Pointblanknews.com, Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa, a Lagos-based journalist had allegedly acted on a tip about suspicious regular visits to a shrine ran by a gang of Islamic cleric ritualists in Ikorodu, Lagos.
According to the report, his background checks on the “particular madam” had revealed that the woman, was no other than Oyindamola, the Owo Ondo State born wife of Mr. Pemu Sam Amuka, Publisher of Nigeria’s Vanguard Newspaper.
Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa was reported to have kept regular vigil and surveillance at subsequent visits of Mrs. Amuka and was shocked, allegedly to witness the woman taking part on the gory beheading of the unknown fourteen year old boy.
The boy, whose identity is still not known, was reportedly bound and eventually beheaded by ritualists at a shrine in Igbalu village at Ijede via Ikorodu Lagos.
According to Pointblanknews.com, during the rituals, Oyindamola held unto the already hypnotized boy’s head and chanted incantations before the helpless boy was eventually beheaded.
The journalist, a resident in Ikorodu area, who was freelancing with Westerner Newspaper Lagos, covering Crime, Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa, reportedly surreptitiously captured everything with his lens.
He also reportedly put a call across to police detectives who arrived at the scene, unfortunately at a time the boy had been beheaded. Four police detectives soon arrived from the Crime Investigation Department (CID) Panti, Lagos. Babatunde Odine Jonathan, a Superintendent of Police and Officer in Charge of Monitoring, led the detectives.
When the armed cops in mufti arrived, they reportedly effected arrests including Oyindamola who was handcuffed and other suspected ritual killers such as Alfa Fatai and Alfa Taju, who by their prefixes are Islamic clerics.
Also reportedly arrested was the owner of the hollow shrine, one Alhaji Rasheed Alayande, a.k.a, Achebe. He is reputed as a 419 scammer and ritualist. Oyindamola and co were thus taken to the state CID in Panti where she was detained for three days.
According to Pointblanknews.com, when grilled she reportedly confessed to the police that she went to the extent of performing the bloody rituals because her husband was dating another woman whom she wanted the ritualists to kill through supernatural means.
Besides, she reportedly took along names of some Vanguard directors and editors whom she believed were obstacles to her gaining financial control over the newspapers.
Pointblanknews.com reported that the woman made other confessions as to the reasons for the ritual killing.
Pointblanknews.com also reported that rather than being prosecuted eventually, Oyindamola reportedly bribed her way out with N4 million which was shared by the police officers.
The bribe leaked and Police hierarchy fired some senior officers, arrested junior officers and the news reporter
According to Pointblanknews.com, after Oyindamola reportedly bolted and took the available flight to flee Nigeria to London, her N4 million deals leaked. SP Jonathan, who is a police boxing champion and a world title holder, was relieved of his post by the commissioner of Police, State CID, Leye Oyebade. Jonathan has now also fled Nigeria to the US under a nebulous arrangement that he has sports engagements in the US.
However, an ironic twist in the case is that, Mr. Ogwu-Chinuwa, the freelance reporter that discovered and reported the heinous crime was also arrested by the police, along with his wife, Bosede. He was reportedly detained for two weeks while his wife was incarcerated for two days.
Recalling what led to his arrest and detention, Ogwu-Chinuwa told Pointblanknews.com “I went to meet Pemu-Amuka at his Vanguard office to confirm if Oyindamola was actually his wife. He answered in the affirmative and then slumped in his chair.” “I helped him to his feet and departed.”
Ogwu-Chinuwa said he suspected that Pemu-Amuka later machinated his arrest by the police. “This is because, for three days, he didn’t know that his wife was being detained until I brought it to his notice,” he said.
But Vanguard newspaper has a different side of the story.
Nigerian Vanguard newspaper account: Ikeja Magistrate Court, Lagos
Steve Chinua-Ogwu, freelance reporter
in handcuffs arrive at Ikeja Magistrate Court
on February 23, 2009
Following recent arraignment at a Lagos court, Nigerian Vanguard newspaper has been running articles alleging that Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa the Nigeria-based freelance reporter and Pointblanknews.com US-based online news service had attempted to extort money from the publisher of Vanguard newspaper, Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu.
Nigerian Vanguard newspaper articles is reporting that Mr. Steve Ogwu-Chinuwa and some policemen were arrested by the police, confessed to hatching and arranging extortion scheme and perpetuating a hoax aimed at swindling Mr. and Mrs. Amuka, and that they had been charged to court in Lagos.
Vanguard newspaper reports that Steve Chinua-Ogwu was a fake journalist, an ex-policeman who was dismissed for theft by the police force.
Vanguard also reports that the story started on July 20th, 2007 when Steve Chinua-Ogwu who claimed to be a crime reporter with Westerner Newspapers, Lagos went to the office of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka at Kirikiri Canal, Apapa, Lagos and showed him terrifying photographs of his wife, Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka in which she was carrying ritualistic materials in a shrine.
Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu reportedly told Mr. Amuka that he also had video copies of the wife‘s meeting with some native doctors in Ikorodu area of Lagos State and threatened to publish the materials if Mr. Amuka failed to provide money for the story to be suppressed and finally killed.
After hearing his story, Mr. Amuka reportedly discreetly stepped aside and invited the police. In a statement he made to the Police at Kirikiri, Mr. Amuka stated the circumstance of his meeting with the so-called crime reporter including the fact that his wife had traveled to London and had refused to return to Nigeria as she expressed fear of a possible elimination by some unknown men.
Vanguard newspaper also reports that one Superintendent of Police, Jonathan Babatunde, officer-in-charge of D13, Monitoring Unit at the Lagos State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba was also involved in the scheme because he sent his men to arrest Mrs. Amuka and staged the scene. He also reportedly collected the sum of N4 Million which Mrs. Amuka handed to him as part payment to kill the case and thereafter fled to London.
Furthermore, Vanguard newspaper reports that Mr. Jonathan (a senior police officer, Superintendent of Police) confessed that Mr. Alayande and group were equitably given N2 million while the remaining N2 million was shared by himself and members of his team.
According to Vanguard report, all the parties were in one accord in the planning, execution and sharing of their loot, but when Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu was given the sum of N100,000.00 (One Hundred thousand Naira), he felt cheated and reported the matter to Mr. Sam Amuka (Publisher of Vanguard newspaper) requesting for monetary compensation, failure which he would face scandalous publication of his wife as a ritualist with the accompanying photographs which he claimed exclusive ownership of.
Ikeja Magistrate Court proceedings
in handcuffs arrive at
Ikeja Magistrate Court
on February 23, 2009
However, Nigerian Vanguard news report on Ikeja Magistrate Court, Lagos proceedings states that Steve Chinua-Ogwu and one Alhaji Rasheed Alayande (a native doctor) were docked on four count charges of conspiracy, stealing, extortion and obtaining money under false pretence for defrauding Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka, wife of the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka, of N4 million.
When they were initially arraigned before Magistrate Miss Badejo Okusanya on February 23, 2009; they pleaded not guilty on each of the count, and thereafter their counsel applied for bail and that was granted. Case was adjourned to March 23, 2009.
During scheduled hearing on March 23, 2009, all parties in the case namely; the accused persons – Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu, freelance reporter and one Mr. Rasheed Alayande, their counsels - Mr. Giwa Amu and Mrs. Raji, Mr. Sam Amuka and his wife, Oyindamola, the police suspects and prosecution witnesses- were present in court.
However, the police prosecution team requested for adjournment to give him time to prepare his witnesses for trial. The request which was not opposed by defense counsels was granted.
Nigerian Vanguard and Publisher: Mr. Samuel Amuka-Pemu
Vanguard Media Limited, publishers of Vanguard Newspaper was established in 1983 and commenced operation by 1984.
Nigerian Vanguard has been described as one of four biggest newspaper establishments in Nigeria. It is one of the few news outfits that have national circulation in the country that has about 170 million people in population.
Nigerian Vanguard newspaper has also been described as a mainstream national newspaper that stays out of controversies and discussions that may offend governments, established government agencies and big institutions.
The publisher and founder, Mr. Sam Amuka-Pemu, mid-70s, has been described as a renowned, seasoned, veteran journalist and columnist of the "Sad Sam fame" who started as a reporter and rose to the top.
Mr. Amuka-Pemu was first editor, Spear magazine (a Daily Times publication); editor, Sunday Times, editor, Sunday Punch, in 1973 before he later became the Managing Director of Punch Nigeria Limited.
Pointblanknews.com and Publisher: Mr. Jackson Ude
Pointblanknews.com, a United States-based online news service, is one of the new (established few years ago) and fast-growing online news service outfits. One thing unique about online news services is global accessibility. One could access online news outfits from anywhere in the world.
Pointblanknews.com has been described as fearless online news outfit that does not shy away from reporting any news it believes to be accurate and facts, especially, news that mainstream print and air news outfits for some reasons may be reluctant to touch. Some argue that Pointblanknews.com is reporting and exposing filth and corruption in high places, especially, in Nigeria.
Most online news services have grassroots foot soldiers (citizen reporters) on ground as part of sources of grassroots information.
Most influential Nigerians appear quite terrified of online news outfits, while most mainstream media are uncomfortable with the growing popularity (of online news outfits).
The publisher, Mr. Jackson Ude, a much younger fellow, is reportedly a Nigerian-trained journalist and was news reporter before he migrated to New York, United States in the early 2000s.
Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu, Lagos-based freelance reporter
Steve Chinua-Ogwu, a Lagos-based freelance reporter was a one time officer of the Nigeria Police Force before venturing into journalism. He reportedly alerted Pointblanknews.com about the ritual killing.
Nigerian Vanguard has repeatedly portrayed Mr. Steve Chinua-Ogwu as Nigerian agent of Pointblanknews.com; however, Pointblanknews.com has denied the reports and had fired back at Nigerian Vanguard accusing it of smear campaign and blackmail.
Beneath the accusations, counter-accusations and spin by Nigerian Vanguard newspaper, United States-based Pointblanknews.com, the freelance reporter, the publishers and their representatives lays the truth of the matter; however, some key unanswered questions remain:
- Was a human being slaughtered in this case, by whom; or, was it a hoax?
- Who was slaughtered, and how was the human being procured?
- Was effort made to save the human being from being slaughtered, and why not?
- Was bribe given to the police, by whom, and why?
- Did the police collect any bribe, and why?
- Did the policemen cheat the reporter out of his share of the bribe, or, not?
- Did the reporter contact Pointblanknews.com because he felt cheated, or, out of moral pursuit of exposing evil in the society; is the reporter a hero, or, on revenge mission?
- Where are the policemen involved in this case now; why are they not being prosecuted?
- Was there attempt to extort money from Vanguard publisher, by whom, and why?
- Were all the parties truthful about what they know and their roles in this case?
Though most Nigerian news media have noticeably remained silent on this war between Nigerian Vanguard and United States-based Pointblanknews.com, the hope is for the truth of this matter, including many unanswered questions to prevail in the court of law and justice, in very near future.
Implications and significance of this news development
Though Africans In American News Watch observed a lot of unanswered questions in this developing news story; however; human sacrifice and ritual killings for power, wealth and other mystical purposes are growing practice in some African countries particularly, Nigeria.
Horrendous ritual slaughter of human beings at satanic shrines by individuals seeking political and economic power is common in some African countries, particularly Nigeria.
Countries like Liberia was able to admit the problem exists and the leadership under Gyude Bryant expressed political will to severely deal with perpetrators.
Other African countries like Nigeria under corrupt leadership allowed "mishandling" and "ineffective" investigation of such cases even after the perpetrators including state governors, federal and state lawmakers, party leaders and shrines’ custodians were caught red-handed, and confessed.
An example was police discovery of over 70 dead bodies and hundred and possibly thousands of human parts at various level of decomposition at fetish shrines in Okija town, Eastern Nigeria. In-fighting among political leaders in the state led to revelations, confessions and finger-pointing by the patrons and participants in the ritual sacrifice at the shrine. However, despite wide publicity and uproar the case generated, the Nigerian police investigation came to naught. No one was charged or prosecuted because the investigation was mishandled and the charged were improperly drafted, according to government.
Like other cases involving influential members of the society, the Nigeria police is very famous for "ineffectiveness" and was unable to avoid too often and too common ‘mishandling’ of investigations, most especially, when prominent members of the society are involved.
Like human trafficking, some cases of ritual killings among African immigrants in western countries have begun to surface.
Example, in England, there was the headless body of African boy (Boy Adam) floating on a river.
In United States, there is the is the unsolved death of female aide to outlawed governor of Anambra State, Nigeria; the same governor who publicly confessed and admitted his involvement in Okija satanic shrine.
It is very important that the truth prevail and justice eventually be served in this case. The society will benefit from getting to the truth of the matter; and the truth may not be that complex, if there is moral will to pursue it.
Hopefully, Nigerian Vanguard newspaper, United States-based Pointblanknews.com and the Nigeria Police Force will join forces with others including governments, religious institutions, civil societies, political parties, community and social bodies, and international organizations to heighten awareness and address the growing problems of corruption, human sacrifice and ritual killings in Nigeria.
Click here for detail background of the case according to Nigerian Vanguard newspaper