Popular Nigerian daily, Daily Independent newspaper and NewsWireNGR, an online medium have retracted and apologised to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami for publishing fake news stories purportedly linking him with insurgent group, Boko Haram.
The Daily Independent newspaper had on Monday published a story, titled, ‘Disquiet As America Places Nigerian Minister On Watchlist, alleging that the Honourable Minister, a respected Islamic scholar was placed on the US Terror Watch List.
The story, which trended on Nigerian twitter community for hours, was also republished by NewsWireNGR, with the headline, ‘Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Sheikh Isa Pantami placed on Terror watch-list for alleged ties with Boko Haram Leader’
Dr. Pantami later reacted to the fake news as its purveyors couldn’t provide evidence either from the United States or any of it’s agencies, thereby demanding immediate retraction and apology from the two media.
Muslim News findings revealed that the first to retract and tender apologies was NewsWireNGR, who admitted that it failed to demonstrate due diligence in republishing the third party story.
In the retraction release, the online medium wrote, “We launched an independent audit to evaluate the story and found that there was no direct attribution by the said United States Government agency and we do apologise to our readers for re-publishing the report and also to the person of Sheikh Isa Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications.
“The video embedded in the story where the Minister and the late leader of Boko Haram revealed that, the minister and the late Boko Haram leader were in a heated debate. Sheikh Pantami in the video disagreed with Muhammed Yusuf’s position, insisting that Muslims should enrol in schools and equally participate in democratic governance. However, Yusuf argued to the contrary with little evidence from the Qur’an and Hadith which he relied on.
“Based on this development, we are retracting the story and deleting the article from our platforms, news websites and the various social media pages,” it added.
Daily Independent didn’t immediately retract the story until after it was served by the Dr. Pantami Legal Team. The medium later admitted in a release that the story was not verified to be true before it went to press.
— Mubarak Umar (@Mubarack_Umar) April 12, 2021
In a terse apology, the newspaper wrote, “We have since realized that the information contained in the story has not been verified to be true. The Minister mentioned in the story, Alhaji Isa Ali Ibrahim, also known as Sheikh Pantami, is not known to be on American Terror Watch List, nor is he linked to terror organisations.
“We regret and sincerely apologise for the embarrassment our story has caused the Honourable Minister whom we hold in high regard,” the release read.
Beyond the apology and retraction, Nigerians on social media have called for investigations into the source of the fake news and demanded that the Honourable Minister should sue them for libel, so as to serve as deterrent to others. Let’s what some of them say….
The @DrIsaPantami who challenged and debated with Boko Haram’s late leader Mohammed Yusuf or the Pantami who was copiously threatened by Shekau? The debates and threats are well documented. Who is feeding @StateDept with spurious intel?
— Jaafar Jaafar (@JaafarSJaafar) April 12, 2021
I don’t even like Sheik Pantami these days, But saying there’s a link between him & Boko Haram is utterly ridiculous and insulting. This is a man that even before he became a minister spent years fighting Yusuf & his dangerous beliefs. I’m hoping he sues whoever is responsible
— Sarki. (@Waspapping_) April 12, 2021
These apologies are not enough!
Dear @DrIsaPantami, in the interest of our country, we implore you to pursue a legal cause against this outlet. This was intended to promote a deep-seated hate certain people have for you, for whatever reasons. Someone must pay for such behaviour.
— A. Abdullah (@katchali) April 12, 2021
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