By Ruth Oginyi
Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi on Tuesday apologized to journalists in the state following the misunderstanding between him and the journalists for banning two of their colleagues from entering government house and nearing Government facilities.
Umahi had during public broadcast in the State Radio last Wednesday ban Chijioke Agwu the State Correspondent of Daily Sun Newspaper and Vanguard Correspondent, Peter Okutu ”for life” following their reports which did not go down well with the state government.
This development is coming after correspondent chapel of Ebonyi NUJ issued a statement against the development and urged its members to stay-away from the government house and Governor’s activities in protest of the ill-treatment meted on their colleagues
Peter and Chijioke were arrested, interrogated and released by the police in the State after intervention from the national president of NUJ, Comrd Chris Isiguzio and the State chairman Comrd Tony Nwizi.
The governor’s further step against the journalists sparked off condemnations and media attacks on the Governor by the National Leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Civil Liberty Organizations (CLOs), SERAP, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), International Press Council (IPC), some notable legal practitioners, Media Right Agenda (MRA) among others.
But Umahi in state wide broadcast to the people of the state on the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, apologized to the journalists in the state and urged them to sheathe their swords and join him in building the State, describing them as partners in progress.
He said, “In my earlier speeches, I had directed that the unfortunate incident with the press was not intentional, but I think we are all here to build the state and so I am asking everybody to disregard whatever that happened and see press as our partners in progress and let us work together.”
“We advise them to please crosscheck information because I hear more than you hear. There are certain write-ups that people are sad about and that is why I said please, let everybody down tools. As a father, you beat a child with one hand, you draw him nearer with the other hand.”
“I believe strongly that if anybody intentionally wants to pull you down, he can’t pull you down standing. He will also go down with you and he may even rise ahead of you and the single way to succeed in life is to be happy with success.”
“So, I want to invite the press on partnership and also ask them to please help us to build the state. Nobody said you should not report the truth, but doesn’t report falsely against us because we know our people as a State is peculiar, little thing will trigger off a lot of tension.”