An Update On The Alleged Flogging Order Of “imam” By The Emir Of Katagum

By Saleh Bature 
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“You can run with a lie but you can’t hide from the truth it will catch you.” I did not intend to revisit this issue because the original post had served the purpose. Hundreds have shared my original post about the fake video. These people shared my feelings. They felt it was necessary to give the accurate picture of the fake video. The story went viral as it recorded thousands of likes and comments that sent the correct perspective to the public. By the grace of God, our efforts have debunked the calumny against the emir of Katagum.

I was embarrassed by the many hard questions to answer which people have asked me about the place where the flogging took place and why. The only thing I knew and which I kept on repeating was that it did not happen in Azare. I thank God that Hussain Kabir, a young, honest Nigerian from Yawuri, Kebbi state, has saved me from the embarrassment. He supplied the answer. He sent the recent picture of the man, the place where he was flogged, the reason for the punishment and his actual name.

I quote kabir’s words verbatim: “his name is Osama, his offence was that he use to send small children to steal phone from people’s house which later he will buy d phone from them. He was flogged at kofar sarkin kudu house here in yauri.” I uploaded Osama’s photo and the now renovated kofar Sarkin kudu where the flogging took place for the public to see.

I am worried about how far fake news travels and the damage it can inflict on innocent victims. I could not believe the flurry of comments that this alleged flogging have generated across the various social media platforms in the country. The video has called to question the claim of professionalism by some individual journalists and media channels in Nigeria.

One can understand the repute of a news medium from the credibility of its reportage. It is saddening that some online publications that claim to be practicing journalism have thrown ethics to the dogs. They engage in character assassination to build traffic, followership and boost sales.

I am happy that this fake video has revealed the sheer stupidity, cluelessness and lack of professionalism of the many so called online publications in Nigeria. For instance, an obscure publication which goes by the name Afonjaman carried the story with the headline, “emir of Azare ordered public flogging of Imam after holding mosque prayers amid covid-19.” Other online publications that have notoriety for viral misinformation have also carried the same fake story of “emir of Azare” orders the flogging of Imam.

Online newspapers as diverse as Nairaland Forum, Elombah news, signature reporters, Opera news, gistnaija, sleekgist and newsmag were among the motley crowd of publications that unveiled their unprofessionalism and lazy journalism approach to reportage. These papers did not exercise due diligence in reporting the story. They have thrown objectivity and balance which are the backbone of journalism to the dogs. None of them considered the emir’s side to the story matters.

It surprises me that senior citizens who are educated and boastful of knowing the length and breadth of Nigeria as they know the palm of their hands could be too careless as to speak about an issue they know little or nothing about. On his Twitter handle, Femi Fani Kayode tweets: “The Emir of Azare told his guards to punish any Imam who held mosque prayers with more than 10 people and did not maintain social distancing. An Imam violated the rules and was beaten by palace guards. In my view what is being done to this man is hideous, barbaric and indefensible.”

There was no order to flog Imam or anybody for any infraction by the emir of Katagum. Femi Kayode and the papers that promoted the fake news should know that there is no traditional title in northern Nigeria or anywhere on earth that is called “ emir of Azare.” But we have the emir of Katagum who presides over the seat of an emirate founded around 1807 by Ibrahim Zakiyul Kalbi (aka Malam Zaki).

The video and the accompanying story are fake. The truth is, the emir of Katagum has been in Dubai and Abuja for the the last four months. He was discharged from a Dubai hospital and is now convalescing in Abuja. It is unfortunate that this blatant lie, fake news and character assassination is targeted against the him at the time his people are celebrating his return from a successful medical vacation. It is unthinkable in the first place to have brought the emir's name into disrepute. He has no connection with the video in any way.

Saleh Bature email: [email protected]