Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, on Saturday, said he does not know nor have contact or relationship with a South African parliamentarian, Zanele Sifuba.
Sifuba is at the centre of a trending sex scandal in South Africa over a leaked video tape.
The Director, New Media to the Governor, Kola Oredipe, in a statement explained that Diri has not been to South Africa in the last ten years describing media reports linking the governor to the trending story involving the female South African parliamentarian, as a mere distraction.
Oredipe said that the Facebook account on which the post was made purportedly belonging to the woman was created on Thursday, November 10, 2022.
He explained that the scandal first appeared in the social media in South Africa on Oct 31, and was linked to an unnamed Nigeria youth adding that those behind the post twisted it with a fake account with the governor’s image with the intent to tarnish his image.
He wondered how a governor of Bayelsa State would resort to blackmail for N8 million and urged the public to discountenance the story which he described as untrue and lacking in merit.
The statement titled, ‘Trending South African Sex Story: A Mere Distraction’ reads, “Our attention has been drawn to a fake news circulating online about Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State over an alleged nude video leak of a South African female legislator, Zanele Sifuba.
“The post linking the governor to the allegation suddenly appeared on the Facebook page purportedly belonging to the woman after trending for more than a week.
“Our investigation however revealed that the said account is fake and was only created on Thursday, November 10, 2022.
“For a scandal that initially appeared on the South African media space on October 31 and was first linked to a ‘Nigerian youth,’ it is obvious those behind the new twist opened the parody account with the deliberate intention to tarnish the image of the Bayelsa Governor.
“Sadly, even without any effort to confirm the ridiculous allegation against the governor of a state, a few Nigerian online platforms rushed to publish the fake news from the ‘Zanele Sifuba Facebook’ account without investigating its source.
“Let it be stated without any equivocation that Governor Diri does not know and has had no contact nor relationship with the said woman at the centre of the scandal. He has also not been to South Africa in the last 10 years.
“While we have read about a purported attempt to collect R300,000 from her, the ‘young blackmailer’ is certainly not Governor Diri.
“Ask the question: why would a governor of an oil-rich state resort to blackmail for a mere R300,000 (about N8 million)? This is simply ridiculous.
“Clearly, political mischief-makers have gone on overdrive in their desperation to tarnish the reputation of a hardworking, calm, peaceful and focused Governor of Bayelsa State.
“This story is just another failed attempt to distract the man that is single-minded on his developmental agenda for his state and who has in the last six weeks devoted his time and energy to managing the devastating flood that hit Bayelsa.
“The public is, therefore, advised to discountenance the news as it lacks merit and has no bearing whatsoever with the Bayelsa Governor.
“Let it also be stated that there are consequences for publishing falsehood. The anonymity of the social media should not serve as shield for calumny and character assassination, with grave legal implications. Unfortunately, those portals circulating this unverified post have fallen into the trap and its repercussions.”