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Ekiti State refutes reports on Oyebanji’s cost of US investment driven trip

Says Govt won’t succumb to cheap blackmail

By Omolade Adegbuyi

The Ekiti State Government has dismissed as spurious claims by an online media that the recent trip to the United States by Ekiti officials cost the state $500,000.

The State Government on Sunday cautioned journalists to desist from blackmail, sensationalism and makebelief stories spinned for political mischief.

It said the online media wrote the story without any credible information nor did it provide hard or even simple evidence crucial to media ethics

The State Government said the reports by Sahara Reporters were misleading and fictitious.

The State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, is currently on a working visit to the United States of America to seek investment and business opportunities for the state.

A statement by the Special Adviser (Media) Mr Yinka Oyebode on Sunday described the story as “highly fallacious” which he said came 72 hours after the State Government had debunked Sahara Reporters’ earlier mischievous claims about the Governor’s trip and gave fresh clarifications on the Governor’s itinerary in the course of the working visit to the US.

Oyebode said “Apparently propelled by ulterior motives, and ashamed of owning up to its unprofessional reportage, Sahara Reporters within the space of 72 hours came up with another hurriedly baked story, which, at best, was filled with “sound and fury signifying nothing”. Or how else does one explain the unfounded claims by Sahara Reporters that the trip gulped $500,000 and that 20 people were on the Governor’s entourage.”

He said the “fictitious figures, we dare say, exist only in the wild imagination of Sahara Reporters and its sponsors.”

He said “the Government of Ekiti State is not unaware of Sahara Reporters’ satanic alliance with some elements in the society who are out to distract the Governor and the Government. It is, however, shameful that Sahara Reporters would allow itself to be used for such a ridiculous assignment, which is dead on arrival.”

According to him, at the appropriate time those “using Sahara Reporters as a tool for cheap blackmail would be named and shamed in line with our culture in the Land of Honour.”

He said “It is important to place on record that His Excellency Biodun Oyebanji remains focused on all- round development of Ekiti State through effective implementation of his six -pillar development agenda. He remains committed to the administration’s shared prosperity agenda and a thousand and one lies and sponsored stories by Sahara Reporters and its traducers cannot distract him.

“As a responsible Government, we also consider it appropriate to re-state here that Governor Oyebanji followed due protocols in embarking on the trip, which was well publicised. He has not exceeded the time allocated for the trip. He has not derailed from the purpose of the trip and he would be back in the country this week at the completion of the outlined tasks.

“We urge well meaning citizens of the state and Nigerians in general to disregard the dubious publication which is bereft of substance.”

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