By Temisan Jackson
After an endless series of unprofessional reporting and no sign of willingness to change for the better, some of us have profiled Saharareporters as chief among those online media that were set up to enrich the pockets of their founders through blackmail-cum-settlement reportage and Machiavellian journalism.

Indeed our submission has been proven true times and over, the most recent being the story of a seating governor in Nigeria who decided to appropriate a state co-owned oil and gas venture to himself and would stop at nothing to eliminate those standing in his way. A New York-based news medium reportedly got a whiff of the story and went public with it, only for the story to be yanked off the site some days later after the governor concerned had played ball.

We monitor some of these developments and we know the media that are really above board and those that are merely pretending to be. And, inasmuch as Saharareporters has been categorised as a medium not worth the ideals it posts on its homepage, some of us cannot still help being alarmed whenever we get to know about the editorial faux pas that Saharareporters shamelessly owns on behalf of its so-called paymasters.

The latest of such dark reportage is Sowore's caption of the last senate hearing on the missing NNPC money. With a screaming headline, Saharareporters screams: “Sanusi Insists $20b Is Missing, Okonjo-Iweala Unable To Prove How $10.8b Was Spent”

Now, Saharareporters' hatred for Okonjo-Iweala is well documented, and no one should begrudge Sowore his freedom of grudge. But to be using a medium that is meant for public good to settle personal scores by blatantly misinforming the citizens and inciting them against this woman is totally unethical and unacceptable.

Below are the headlines of some other news media on the same story:
SN Headlines Media
1 Senate Hearing: Sanusi Insists $20b Is Missing, Okonjo-Iweala Unable To Prove How $10.8b Was Spent Sahara Reporters
2 Nigeria: Missing $20 billion oil money Senate hearing – Day Two live blog Premium Times
3 Nigeria: Missing $20 billion oil money Senate hearing – Day Two live blog Voice of Arewa
4 Kerosene subsidy: NNPC spends trillions without appropriation Businessday
5 Senate Hearing: Okonjo-Iweala Recommends Independent Audit On NNPC Missing Funds Channels
7 “Missing” $20bn CBN: Okonjo-Iweala calls for forensic audit Daily Post
8 Nigeria's Finance Minister Calls for Audit of Oil Accounts Bloomberg
9 Missing $20bn Oil Money: FG to hire forensic auditors —Okonjo-Iweala Vanguard
10 Missing funds: Forensic auditors to probe NNPC, others Punch
11 Okonjo-Iweala: FG Seeks Forensic Audit of NNPC Thisday
12 Missing oil money: Forensic auditors, AGF to examine CBN, NNPC's Tribune
13 Missing $20 billion: Senate, Okonjo-Iweala can't vouch for NNPC Sun News
14 Unremitted NNPC Funds: Okonjo-Iweala Recommends Forensic Audit News NG
15 Okonjo-Iweala, Alison-Madueke, Sanusi face one another at Senate probe Sun
16 Unremitted $20b: Okonjo-Iweala Opts For Independent Forensic Audit Prompt News Online
17 Nigerian senate orders audit of oil billions unaccounted for Reuters
18 Nigerian Senate Orders Audit of Unaccounted $20 Billion in Oil Revenue VOA
19 "Missing" $20 bn CBN: Okonjo-Iweala Calls for Forensic Audit Daily Times
20 We need forensic audit to unravel missing $20bn puzzle – Okonjo-Iweala New Mail

The contrast between Sowore's headline and those of credible news sites is too obvious, and an attestation to blackmail, mischief and a damaging slant against Okonjo-Iweala.

Now reading the story, Saharareporters claimed that it culled the meat of its report from the blog that Premium Timespublished. But for a medium that was not at the hearing, its reportage was unashamedly biased and slanted to suit the agenda of its sponsors. Here are some excerpts:

“Day Two of the investigative hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance into the alleged missing $20 billion oil money has concluded in Abuja, with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, insisting the money is missing according to a live blogging of the hearing by Premium Times of Nigeria.”

“Testifying earlier, Okonjo-Iweala aligned herself with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC, despite declaring her Ministry lacked the capacity to validate the claims contained in NNPC documents from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) showing how the initial outstanding $10.8 billion was spent...”

“SaharaReporters gathered that representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had agreed to present a united from today at the Senate claiming that the ministry was "satisfied" with the NNPC explanations regarding the missing funds. However, they could not carry out the plan as CBN officials refused to sign the agreement…”

“President Jonathan, the Finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala and the Petroleum Resources minister, Alison-Madueke , who rushed back from London yesterday, have reportedly resolved to prolong the investigations by bringing in forensic expert pending the time the CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi could be completely sidelined.”

Again, for a medium that was not at the hearing, where did Sowore and its Saharareporters got their misleading information from? Who is their source? Why turn the whole proceeding around and make it look as if the hearing was all about Okonjo-Iweala and not an altercation between the NNPC and CBN? Why portrayed Okonjo-Iweala as the corrupt one who could not account for the missing $10 billion? Whose script is Saharareporters reading from? Who are the people paying Sowore to trumpet everything evil about Okonjo-Iweala? Why attempting to mislead the reading public by painting the finance minister black right from the headline to the last sentence of its obviously fabricated report?

In my opinion, I think the finance minister has a very good ground to drag Saharareporters to court based on some of the unsubstantiated excerpts in and general slant of this report. I will be surprised if madam minister does not explore this option, as it will at least expose Sowore for the sham that he is, if it does not hush him.

Shame on you, Omoyele Sowore.

Loads of shame on Saharareporters.

I'm now on your case, so watch out for more exposition.

Attn: This article is sent to Saharareporters as well. And it will be interesting to see if Sowore, who has a hobby for publishing negatives about other people, will have the gut to publish the reflection of someone else about his own person.

Temisan Jackson, a communication consultant and current affair analyst, writes from Warri, Delta State.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."