‘Ariogbo’ takes Theophilus Gbenda to task
Executive Editor of Ariogbo Newspaper has unequivocally dismissed wild allegations made by the Chairman of the Association of Journalists on Mining and Extractives (AJME). (Photo: Abdul Karim Fonti Kabia, Editor, Sierra Leone Newshunters aka Ariogbo)
Abdul Karim Fonti Kabia was reacting to an article circulated by Theophilus S. Gbenda over the weekend, when he described assertions in the said article as malicious, unsubstantiated and a deliberate ploy to tarnish his hard won reputation in the media landscape.
In the article titled ‘When journalists dance the corporate dance’, Theophilus Gbenda made wild allegations bordering on the circumstances surrounding the establishment of the Ariogbo Newspaper and the Africa Young Voices (AYV) Magazine. Theo alleged that the two newspapers were not only covertly established by the giant mining company African Minerals Limited (AML), but that the operations of the newspapers are fully sponsored by AML. The AJME Chairman continued to allege that Fonti was defending the activities of African Minerals because the company has hired him to do so. According to Theo, he was the one that personally helped groom Abdul Fonti as Editor at Awareness Times Newspaper. He however went further to state that the journalist he allegedly groomed at Awareness Times was inexperienced.
Responding to the aforementioned allegations, Fonti denied that Ariogbo was established by AML.
“The records are always available at the Roxy Building office of the Registrar General and at the Independent Media Commission (IMC),” Fonti disclosed, adding that Theophilus Gbenda has only succeeded in ridiculing himself in the eyes of the public.
As for the allegation that Fonti was paid by AML to defend the company against media bashing, Fonti simply commented thus: “It is only somebody under the influence of marijuana that will make such mischievous allegation. Some of us have resolved to end the days of attack and collect in Sierra Leone. No matter the allegations leveled against me, I will not sit by, fold my hands and watch ill-motivated people continue to launch undue and unjust attacks against genuine investors without setting the records straight. At least, it is part of my duty as a patriotic Sierra Leonean on one hand and a professional journalist on the other hand”.
Fonti also dismissed claims by Theo that he was the one that personally helped to groom him as Editor.
“This guy is more of a joker than a journalist. I was his boss at Awareness Times newspaper, so where does the question of training me arise? The only person in the whole world that will rightly pride herself as my mentor and pioneer is Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden,” Fonti firmly asserted, while urging Theo to wake up to reality and stop fantasizing.
Meanwhile, Fonti has indicated that he is also considering the option of filing a libel suit against Theophilus Gbenda in a competent court of law.
By Christiane Koroma
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