Fact check: Who really owns instablog9ja – Is Linda Ikeji guilty of fake news?

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Following the controversy surrounding the identity of the owner(s) of popular Instagram blog, instablog9ja, the fact check team at Nigeriandefender.com has released a comprehensive report in a bid to separate facts from fake news.

Nigerian veteran blogger, Linda Ikeji recently got involved in a controversy following a report published on his blog about the identity of the man behind popular Instagram blog, instablog9ja. The report allegedly claimed that the owner of the popular Instagram blog is John Abayomi, a former online editor of Vanguard news and current online editor of Punch. He is also a Social media strategist, creative content developer, documentary producer and SEO expert.

John is a 2002 graduate of University of Agriculture and has a Master’s Degree in New Media & Society, Communication and Media Studies from University of Leicester UK in 2014. He also holds an international Broadcast Presentation certificate and Broadcast Journalism from Radio Nigeria training school, Lagos.

The controversy

Shortly after the report by Linda Ikeji, John Abayomi who currently serves as the online editor of punch newspaper was allegedly summoned by his employers (Punch newspapers) to explain his position on the news making the round which he denied according to reports.

Counsel to John Abayomi, Human rights activist and renowned lawyer, Femi Falana(SAN) subsequently threatened legal action against publisher of Linda Ikeji blog, Linda Ikeji for publishing what he described as false and malicious story about seasoned journalist, John Abayomi.

Abayomi, through his lawyer, Falana and Falana’s Chambers, claimed that the publication with the headline, ‘LIB Exclusive: Meet the owner of Instablog9ja-John Abayomi’ has put his life and that of his family members in grave danger.

In the letter delivered to the blogger on Friday, a copy of which was sighted by reporters, Linda was asked to tender an unreserved apology within forty-eight hours or risk legal action.

Linda, in the said publication, claimed that ‘the owner of instablog9ja is John Abayomi, a former online editor of Vanguard news and current online editor of Punch’.

However, Falana said that the statement is untrue and unfounded and calculated to lower Abayomi’s esteem and damage his reputation and professional career.

“Your publication has put him in the harm’s way, thereby endangering his life and the lives of his family members. It has also attracted a lot of negative reactions from members of the public including celebrities who have been eager to know the face behind the blunt and sarcastic blog because of the method of its reportage”.

“Your mendacious publication was clearly actuated by malice in that it was deliberately done to portray our client as an imposter, a fraudster and a blackmailer.”

“In the light of the foregoing, we have our client’s firm instructions to demand an unqualified apology together with a retraction of the libelous publication in the edition of your blog (Linda Ikeji blog) in addition to having the retraction published on Instagram.

“However, if you fail or refuse to accede to our client’s demands within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, we shall have no option than to initiate civil proceedings against you at the Lagos State High Court without further recourse to you,” reads the letter which was signed by Chukwuma Onwuemene (ESQ.).

A reliable source has also rubbished reports that board members of Punch Newspapers met over Linda Ikeji’s publication.

“It is totally untrue. There was no such meeting. Everybody close to him, including his employers are aware that Linda Ikeji’s publication was completely untrue,” the source said.

The retraction

In a retraction and correction post, Linda Ikeji who stated that the picture identification mistake from a staff was as a result of the uncanny yet not uncommon similarities in the names of these two individuals, added that John Abayomi Aruleba runs Instablog9ja with his partner, Tosin Dotun Adeyemi.

Read her retraction statement below;

In an article on Linda Ikeji’s Blog titled “LIB exclusive: Meet the owner of Instablog9ja – John Abayomi” published on November 15, 2018 John Abayomi was mistakenly identified by his picture as the owner of Instablog9ja.

This mistake was as a result of the exact similarities in the names of John Abayomi who is an Online Editor with Punch and another John Abayomi Aruleba who is the actual owner of Instablog9ja.

The picture identification mistake from our staff was sadly as a result of the uncanny yet not uncommon similarities in the names of these two individuals.

LIB is happy to set the record straight, take full responsibility for the mix-up as we tender our unreserved apology to John Abayomi of Punch Newspapers for any inconvenience this mistake has caused.

Our publication was meant to reveal the identity of John Abayomi Aruleba (pictured above), the owner of instablog9ja who shares the same business address as his father, Dr Aruleba owner of Aruking herbal herbs with business address in Lagos.

The fact however still remains that John Abayomi Aruleba runs Instablog9ja with his partner, Tosin Dotun Adeyemi


Linda Ikeji Blog

Debunking her new claim

Although Linda Ikeji did apologize to John Abayomi, the current online editor of punch newspapers, the blogger in a bid to save face insisted that another  John Abayomi Aruleba (Not punch online editor) is in fact the real owner of instablog9ja. The gossip blogger also mentioned a certain Tosin Dotun Adeyemi as a stakeholder in the Instagram blog.

Neither of the alleged new owners has verified this claim nor deny it, but that does not in any way verify the authenticity of the report. After some research and careful observation by our fact check team at Nigerian Defender, it was concluded that the new claim is at best fake news.

Who really owns instablog9ja?

For many years Nigerians on social media has been yearning to know the identity of the man behind instablog9ja, this popular demand may have motivated the blogger to wet their appetite with a false report. No one knows the real operators or owners of the Instagram blog and we may not know for sure based on available information.

SOURCE: Nigerian Defender

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About Haruna Magaji 2482 Articles
Haruna Magaji is a journalist, foreign policy expert and closet musician. He is a graduate of ABU Zaria and a member of the Nigerian union of journalists. JSA, as he is fondly called, resides in Suleja, Abuja. email him at - [email protected]

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