In their bid to recover and reposition the journalism profession,the Imo state council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ has written to the Imo commissioner of police urging the CP to commence investigation into the criminal vandalization of the Union’s Port Harcourt Road secretariat.
The union which wrote through their lawyer, N.O Chukwuezi Esq recently with the endorsement and approval of Comrade Precious Nwadike and Comrade Austin Okoro as Chairman and Secretary respectively, addressed to the commissioner of Police,copied to Imo State Commissioner for Information,Imo State Director of DSS and Imo state NUJ Elders Council,said “We are solicitors to Imo NUJ. We shall hereinafter refer to them as “Our clients” and it is on their instruction that we write as follows:
“That our instruction shows that Chief Innocent Igwe, Chris Akaraonye and Francis Ebonugwu were chairman and caretaker committee chairmen respectively of the Imo State NUJ between 2018 and 2019.
“That our further instruction shows that within the period in question, the three men above-mentioned illegally disposed of and vandalized NUJ, Imo State Secretariat at No 14 Commissioners quarters opposite Owerri Hotel Plaza, Port Harcourt, Owerri. They removed the roof of the building and carted away all the equipment therein including doors, windows, fans, chairs, etc.NUJ Imo State Secretariat used to be a very busy place and was yielding income to the union every week before the three men-Chief Innocent Igwe, Mr Chris Akaraonye and Mr Francis Ebonugwu reduced it to ruins. Today, that secretariat is only a shadow of itself.”
The letter further stated that all efforts made by the caretaker committee to reach out to the National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr Chris Isiguzo, on this issue yielded no fruit since the National President himself appears to have been a partaker in the sharing of the proceeds of the illegal transactions.
Among other things, the Union called on the police to investigate the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice, insisting that nobody, no matter how highly placed can’t be above the law.
The petitioners enclosed pictorial evidence of the vandalized secretariat, showing the huge damage done to the secretariat by these alleged criminal elements.
It was further gathered that as a panic measure to protect themselves from prosecution, Chris Akaraonye, Innocent Igwe and Francis Ebunugwu with help of the National President, Chris Iziguzo have rushed to the Commissioner of Information and strategy, Mr Declan Emelumba and the governor Hope Uzodinma, seeking their protection.
A government house source who doesn’t want his name in print revealed that the decision of decorating governor Hope Uzodinma a grand patron of NUJ was the sole decision of Isiguzo without the support of other exco members who are shocked that the President could visit Imo state at a time when the State is faced with frightening security challenges and be sharing awards in the name of honouring an event.
The source said, “more annoying is commending the government without speaking against the indiscriminate arrest of young people in Imo. It is very unfortunate what Isiguzo has reduced the union to.As journalists,we should be responsible to the society first before anything else .The outing was a mockery to Imo people and we are not part of it”, he hinted.