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Monday, May 20, 2024

“The Billionaire Police Commissioner”: Retired Anambra CP Clears the Air, Exposes ‘Lies’ in Adeniyi’s Article, Threatens Legal Action

 

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The immediate-past Anambra State Commissioner of Police (retd.), CP Aderemi Adeoye has cleared the air over what he described as glaring falsehoods peddled against him by a columnist, Olusegun Adeniyi, in his piece, captioned “The Billionaire Police Commissioner”, in which the author opinionated certain things about the retired police chief and an investment club founded by him — the Alpha Trust Investment Club.

Adeoye, in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday, May 9, also pointed out what he described as false claims and allegations made by the author in the piece published by ThisDay newspaper on Thursday, 2nd May, 2024.

The retired CP, who took time to refute each of the claims and allegations in the piece, wondered why “a journalist of Adeniyi’s status would deliberately embark on a campaign to smear another person’s hard-earned reputation with blackmail and falsehood.”

He emphasized that ethics of journalism require that alleged facts be cross-checked and effort be made to hear from an accused person before publication, especially when serious allegations are made against the person.

“Not only did Adeniyi disregard these noble ideals enshrined even in our Constitution as Principle of Fair Hearing, he lent himself as a tool in the hands of renegade members of our Club – Alpha Trust Investment Club – who were expelled for criminal misconduct,” he said.

According to him, “the glaring falsehood in Adeniyi’s article is as follows:

“1. He alleged that I announced at my Pull Out Parade that I was a billionaire. He went on to attribute to me a statement I never made. He lied that he was quoting me. He never bothered to get a clip of my speech to hear for himself what I said before embarking on his trip of fantasy. Blinded and driven by envy, he claimed I said I would displace Dangote as the richest man on the continent. If not for a comprehension problem, how does giving a businessman a run for his money translate to displacing him as the richest man in Africa?

“2. He alleged that he couldn’t find the name of our Club in the database of the CAC, implying that we are not registered or that we are an illegal outfit. This is false. We are registered with the CAC. If Adeniyi drew blank with his CAC search, was it not a prudent step to take by contacting us to inquire about our registration status before rushing to publish? Obviously, a simple check with us would have availed him of evidence of our registration. He did not contact us because he was only interested in painting us black for reasons best known to him.

“3. He alleged that I ascribed to myself eleven million units of shares in our club. This is further proof of his evil mindset on this matter. First, the claim is false. No one ascribes shares to him or herself in our Club, not even I the founder. Second, I do not hold eleven million shares. Only the largest shareholder holds that much. I am neither the largest nor the second largest shareholder.

“My shareholding as at the date of publication was just a little above half of what he ascribed to me. Adeniyi may claim he was only quoting the trash he dug up online. The question any sane mind would ask him was whether he saw evidence of the claim before publishing? Evidence of the claim does not exist. Again, did Adeniyi try to verify the claim either from Club officials or any independent source. He did not. If he had, he would have been educated on the true position of our shareholding structure.

“4. Adeniyi claimed to have googled our name and the only thing he came up with was a petition written to IGP by some renegade members who blackmailed me and called for my sack. Adeniyi did not bother to contact Police Authorities to whom the petition was addressed before generously sharing the libelous material.

“If he did, he did not mention the fact or the outcome of his enquiry. It is instructive that the arrowhead of the blackmail campaign has been praising Adeniyi’s hatchet article as a “great job” on social media creating the impression that such a renown journalist was actually doing a hatchet job for a low-life criminal.

“This is most unfortunate. Well, I did a google search with our Club name myself. The first four entries I saw were about our investment approach, model and strategy. I had to dig further to locate the petition Adeniyi generously copied. That indicates that he was not on any objective research. Rather he was in search of material to support the agenda he had chosen to push.

“It is a tragedy that such a person sits on the Board of a renown newspaper as ThisDay. The damage he has done to the Paper’s reputation is incalculable.

“He claimed I was engaged in business contrary to Civil Service Rules. What business? We are simply investors. There is no law as at today that bars public servants from investing or belonging to a cooperative. Even though Cooperatives are allowed to run business, ours was not involved in any business till the time I retired from service.”

Continue, the retired CP said “A journalist worth his salt would have not only cross-checked his facts but also provide evidence to buttress his claims. Adeniyi failed to do either of these.”

Adeoye, in the statement, also announced his intention to “take up the matter legally” with Adeniyi, to serve as deterrent to others.

“…actions have consequences. I know the publication was his personal opinion. It does not represent the position of your paper. I intend to take up the matter legally to serve as deterrent to other persons who see no big deal in attacking people’s reputation without any iota of evidence to support their claims. I thank you for affording me this opportunity of a reply,” he concluded.

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