Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state Tuesday tendered apology to the Nigerian Union of journalists (NUJ) Ebonyi state, especially to the correspondents of Daily Sun and Vanguard Newspapers, Chijoke Agwu, and Peter Okutu who were earlier banned from attending or nearing government’s facilities in the state.
The two journalists under the instruction of the governor were arrested, interrogated and later released by the police in the state.
The action ignited condemnations and attacks on governor Umahi 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.
The governor in a state wide broadcast to the people of the state on Tuesday corncerning the coronavirus pandemic, sought for a cordial relationship with journalists in the state and urged them to down tools, 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’m 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 cross-check 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 bring him back 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 don’t report false against us because we know our people as a state ares peculiar, little thing will trigger off a lot of tension.”