A group, Patriots of Ijaw Nation (PIN), has dismissed a report linking former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, with ownership and retrieval of “48 houses in Abuja” from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement issued in Yenagoa on Saturday by the group Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kesiye Newman described the report as false, misleading and irresponsible.
The statement reads:
“Our attention has been drawn to a blitz of new media reports alleging that the EFCC has returned 48 houses it seized from former Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. This is false, misleading and irresponsible. We recall that when this story first made the rounds in early October 2016, Sylva refuted it. He pointed out that he owns three houses, not 48, in Abuja. All three, he acquired before he became Bayelsa State governor.
“In his 2016 refutation, Sylva said: ‘EFCC had taken their allegations of property ownership against Sylva to several courts without establishing anything against the former governor during the Jonathan era. Beyond the commission’s routine media prosecution, no court of law has found Sylva guilty of any crime. Indeed, in the course of the trials at the Federal High Court, Abuja, owners of some of the properties wrongfully attributed to him joined to claim their houses. The court ruled on the matter of the said 48 properties since 2013. Why is it now a subject of media attention? Clearly, this is a sponsored publication.’
“As in 2016, so it is now. Political jobbers and detractors are still at work.
“As far as we know, this latest attempt to malign Sylva started on September 1, 2017, when Senator Shehu Sani posted a Vanguard newspaper report of October 3, 2016 titled ‘EFCC RETURNS SEIZED 48 HOUSES TO TIMIPRE SYLVA’ on his Facebook page. We are at a loss as to why the Distinguished Senator would repost a stale, false report. We do not know whom he is working with or for. What we know is that sections of the new media picked up Senator Sani’s post, and are feasting on this irresponsible report. This is junk journalism at its vilest.
“This crude attempt to smear Sylva has never succeeded; it will never succeed, as Nigerians, indeed civilised humanity, have since gotten wise to the sponsored shenanigans. The political jobbers and their media cohorts must now make the fateful choice to devote their time and talent to getting a life, instead of wasting their effort on a wild goose chase.”