Some thugs said to be loyal to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba yesterday, invaded the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State council where they inflicted various degrees of injuries on occupants and visitors who came for different transactions.

The thugs, who reportedly stormed the Secretariat at a time when members of the union were not around were said to have been led by one Ifeanyi Nwanguma, a professional photographer.

According to an eyewitness account, the thugs stormed the Secretariat in a blue Toyata High Lander SUV car confirmed that members of the union were not around before they marched into the canteen and asked the operators to leave immediately.

‘’When they were reminded that there are two subsisting suits in respect of the union’s property and it’s leadership, the leader of the gang of thugs, Nwanguma, was quoted as saying that ‘’the  Commissioner for Information and Strategy is aware of our visit to the secretariat. And no authority is superior or equal to that of government’’.

‘’When they entered another office in the Secretariat, they started beating and manhandling an engineer who uses the secretariat as his office. They inflicted injuries on him with a matchet after which they abandoned him in a pool of his own blood before he was rushed to the hospital by sympathizers.

When members of the union who were informed about what was happening at the secretariat could arrived the scene, the thugs had fled’’.

When contacted, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Imo State Council Comrade Precious Nwadike, said that he is aware that the Commissioner for Information and Strategy Emelumba is the person instigating the crises rocking the union. He however, vowed that no amount of threat and intimidation will deter members of the union from doing what is right.

He confirmed that there are two subsisting suits in court, out of which the court has given an order restraining Imo NUJ from conducting election, while the other one has to do with the attempt to sell the union’s secretariat situated along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri. He said he doesn’t know why Declan Emelumba is interested in the property.

Some members of Imo NUJ who commented on the invasion of the secretariat by thugs allegedly led by Nwanguma with the support and connivance of the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy called on the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma to dispel insinuations in different quarters that his administration is presently involved in the plot to grab and sell Imo NUJ Secretariat by not only taking a decisive action but by also calling Emelumba and his cohorts to order.

‘’He should, in line with his orchestrated belief in due process and rule of law, prevail on Emelumba and his cohorts to obey the orders of courts and at the same time, compel relevant authorities to initiate thorough investigation into the recent invasion of Imo NUJ Secretariat with a view to bringing the culprits  to book’’.

Imo NUJ, in a related development, has distanced and dissociated its self from the appointment of Barr Ezekwesiri Nwauwa as its legal Advise. This was contained in a release signed by Comrade Precious Nwadike and Pastor Austin Okoro, as Chairman and Secretary of the union respectively.

The release captioned, ‘’ Imo NUJ Disowns Appointment Of Nwauwa As Legal Adviser’’, reads in part ‘’The Imo State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) wishes to inform the general public that it has not appointed any Legal Adviser contrary to a poorly scripted and highly mischievous press statement being circulated in the social media, purporting that the Union has appointed one Barr Ezekwesiri Nwauwa as its Legal Adviser.

“As usual, it is in line with the predictable antics of some busy-body claimants to the Chairmanship of our union, whose abysmal ignorance would not let them learn that deviant acts of recklessness cannot confer any form of legitimacy on an illegality even if it is backed and enforced by the President of the country. 

“This clarification has become necessary following series of calls from concerned Imolites and development partners of the Union, occasioned by the deception and lies being peddled by lawless individuals masquerading as members of Imo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

“Sadly, the Imo state Commissioner for Information, Hon Declan Emelumba, who as a former lawmaker should be aware of the consequences of disobeying a valid court order was said to have informed some of his hangers-on that the National Industrial Court, Imo Division is permanently closed and would not be in a position to enforce its order. He urged them to go ahead with their kangaroo election despite two pending cases in the court.

“Recall that the National Industrial Court, Owerri Division was on the 4th of June closed after the court was, allegedly attacked by agents of Imo State Government.

“The court, presided over by Justice I. A. Galadima had on the 27th of May,2022 in Suit Number  NICN/OW/01/2019, before its closure, granted a restraining order that no form of election should be conducted by the body pending the determination of the case.

“As a professional body, we have absolute confidence in the court and any other constituted authority. We advise that those using the Imo State Government as cover to fuel crisis should be circumspect as no man is above the law.

“Finally, we call on the public to disregard the activities of these desperate elements who connived with some government officials to attempt to sell the NUJ Secretariat Complex.  We shall continue to resist them. Our victory over the forces of darkness is SURE. 

“Just as those parading themselves as Imo NUJ executives are fake, the so-called Barr. Ezekwesiri Nwauwa is unknown to the union and the constitution of the union. 

“The public is therefore advised to be wary of these persons as anyone dealing with them, does so at his own peril’’.