The Governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi, on Wednesday claimed that the state has the koboko (cane) to flog any member of the correspondents’ Chapel wing of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ebonyi state that publishes negative story against the state.
The governor’s declaration came after he placed a life ban on two members of the Chapel, Mr. Chijoke Agwu of the Daily Sun and Mr. Peter Okutu of the Vanguard Newspapers.
The ban forbids the duo from entering the government house and covering state functions. Agwu’s offence, according to the state government, was his publication on the Lassa Fever outbreak in the state while that of Okutu was based on alleged invasion at Umuogodoakpu-Ngbo community in Ohankwu LGA by unidentified military officers on Tuesday. Umahi announced the ban on Wednesday in a live broadcast on the state-owned Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation radio and TV.
The governor had last weekend ordered the arrest of Agwu over the report but was later released while the council Chairman of Ohaukwu LGA, Barr. Clement Odah ordered the arrest of Okutu.
Umahi noted that the safety of journalists in the state could no longer be guaranteed if they continue to cause panic in the state.
His words: “If you think you have the pen, we have the koboko. “I want to say that I am very displeased with the president and leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and I am going to cease their allowances for two months, because they have failed to discipline their members.
“Ebonyi State is no longer a dumping ground. Only the other day, Chijioke Agwu (Daily Sun Correspondent) wrote that Lassa Fever is killing Ebonyi people in droves and few days back, Mr Peter Okutu of Vanguard did his own.
“Okutu is fond of degrading Ebonyi State, and I don’t know why my officials have allowed him to continue to do that, because he is not from Ebonyi State. “I want to ban him for life with Chijioke Agwu. I don’t want to see them anywhere in any Government facility.
“We are not begging you to give us good report, because the only person that gives good or bad report is God. We are all accountable to him. If you think that Ebonyi State is a dumping ground, try it again. “If you think you have the pen, we have the koboko.
Let’s leave the Court alone. Ebonyi people are very angry with the press and let me warn that I won’t be able to control them or know when they unleash mayhem on you, if you continue to write to create panic in the State.
“I want you to write it that way, that I said, press in Ebonyi is trying to create another COVID that is more dangerous and that is to create panic in our people “The other one wrote that cholera has killed 20 people in Ohaukwu. If you try it again, I may not know when Ebonyians may react. This is important for the NUJ to know.” “If you are an Ebonyi man or lives in Ebonyi and you don’t feel our pains, it is a shame on you.
Maybe, the press people claim they are untouchable. “I have reported to the National President of NUJ, I have reported to State leadership of NUJ and I have reported to the public. Now, the die is cast. May God save us, in the course of time”, he said.