As Commissioner again draws battle line with nursing mother over NAWOJ election 

The Nigeria Union of Journalist, Imo State Council has lambasted the controversial Imo State commissioner for Information and Strategy,Mr Declan Emelumba for his alleged involvement in the unwarranted arrest and detention of newspaper vendors in the state for no genuine reason.

They also accused the commissioner of supporting and preferring to work with the Chris Akaraonye led dissident group comprising retirees and non-professionals because he believes he can’t teleguide or manipulate the Comrade Precious Nwadike led group that has the support and mandate of practicing and non practicing journalists in the state, as opposed to the Akaraonye faction that has consistently sabotaged and mortgaged the interest, security and welfare of Imo journalists on the altar of self aggrandizement and government patronage.

The union stated this in a release captioned, “why we are suspicious of Emelumba in the arrest of Imo Newspaper Vendors, signed by Comrade Precious Nwadike and Austin Okoro, Chairman and Secretary of Imo NUJ caretaker committee, respectively.

They expressed gratitude to all well meaning Imo people for their show of solidarity and concern during the unlawful arrest and detention of some newspaper vendors and distribution agents in the state, stating that no amount of harassment, intimidation or arm twisting will deter journalists in the state from performing their constitutional roles as the mirror of the society, in line with the ethics of the profession and laws of the land.

The release further stated that, “regrettably, the union till date has not been told anything about the offence committed by these vendors who we gathered had no guns or any dangerous weapons at the time of their arrest. And we wish the police could come clean and tell us what their actual offences were, so we could reprimand them appropriately, if need be.

“As a Union, we understand that we are in perilous times and have severally indicated our willingness and commitment to partner with every relevant agency committed to restoring genuine peace in our dear Nation. In doing this, we expect to be seen and appreciated as partners in progress, and not enemies of the government and its institutions.

“Much as we do not intend to apportion blames for the woes of the detained vendors since we are yet to be told their actual offences, we make bold to say that the Commissioner for Information should be held responsible for their detention as it is a fallout of his numerous blackmails against Imo Journalists”.

They also frowned at the unwavering determination of the commissioner for information to oppress, antagonize, humiliate and witch hunt journalists in the state, citing the case of Barr. Mrs Vivian Otti, a nursing mother and staff of the Imo Broadcasting Corporation who was suspended at his instance for requesting that she be paid her salary.

“As unfeeling as he had depicted, he neither considered the welfare of the newborn baby nor the health of the nursing mother. Till date, this thoroughbred professional is serving an undeserved suspension and her salary with held just because she is an outspoken journalist and chairman of the state chapter of the National Association of Women, Journalists (NAWOJ)”,the union stated.

Meanwhile, Chief Declan Emelumba is said to have once more drawn a battle line with the nursing mother who he suspended from service and stopped her salary, as he has vowed to stop her re-election bid as chairman of Imo NAWOJ.

A source who pleaded anonymity told this reporter that, “Declan Emelumba who has vowed to do anything he can to ensure that Barr. Vivian Oti is not re-elected as the state chairman of NAWOJ is presently mobilizing support, logistics and other necessary wherewithal to ensure that her opponent wins the forthcoming election of the association. This, he believes, will enable him control, manipulate and dictate the pace of NAWOJ, just like he is presently doing with the Chris Akaraonye dissident group of Imo NUJ. He knows that with Akaraonye on the saddle, agents of government can molest, assault and deal with journalists anyhow without qualms, hence he is using retirees to disintegrate and cause confusion in the union. He wants to replicate the same thing in NAWOJ. But only time will tell, if he will succeed or not”.