The Chief Press Secretary to Imo State Governor, Mr, Sam Onwuemedo has denied reports in the print and social media that Vanguard and Thisday Correspondents in Imo State, Chidi Nkwopara and Amby Uneze were banned from covering activities of the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
In a statement Friday, Onwuemedo claimed that Nkwopara, the Vanguard correspondent, an Owerri Indigene and a title holder, became “Owerri Nchi Ise/PDP correspondent right from the day the governor indicated his interest or desire to relocate Ekeukwu Market to a more convenient location, and had declared media war against the governor and his administration, throwing caution to the wind”
He said “ For Mr. Amby Uneze, supposedly, the Thisday Newspaper Correspondent has also become, on our side, more of “Mbaise/PDP Correspondent” than being Thisday Correspondent. He is from Oke-block in Aboh Mbaise LGA where the 2015 PDP governorship candidate comes from and he saw that project as his own. He even worked as an electoral officer in Ngor Okpala in the 2015 election for that reason. So, having his dream of an Mbaise governor dashed in 2015, he therefore sees Governor Okorocha as his number one “Enemy” and he does not hide it, using the newspaper as tool”
The statement reads “When they attend the governor’s periodic interactions with media practitioners they would only be looking for what would arm them for negative stories. They do not mean well for the governor or his administration, and they have become willing tools in the hand of the PDP in the state. When you tell Mr. Uneze that you would report him to his employers, the issue of non-payment of salary would arise”
He said the “It is also not surprising to us that in less than twenty-four hours after the governor had told them, before other Correspondents, publishers of Owerri based newspapers and NUJ officials to stop covering his activities, the PDP in the state had a Press Conference backing them and condemning the governor even when the NUJ Chairman had appealed to the governor to rescind the restriction”
The Governor’s media aide recalled that “the same PDP its administration in the state imprisoned one of the Finest Journalists from the state Mr. Maximus Ubah, and he came out and died few months after. The story of OGB gruesomely murdered has not been forgotten. And of the course, the flogging of Samuelson Iwuoha and a Rev Father among numerous atrocities committed by the PDP for the twelve years they governed the state. And what Governor Okorocha has done was to ask two antagonistic reporters to stop covering his activities and he is entitled to such innocuous action”
“Also, the relocation of Ekeukwu Market provided them another opportunity to feed fat on the governor. On the day the Market was demolished, I issued three releases on sensitive issues as they arose. These two guys never cared to reflect our position or claims in all their reports on the demolition exercise and so on” he stated
Onwuemedo claimed that Mr. Uneze of Thisday newspaper sent him a text message on Sunday August 27, 2017 which read “My brother, your government has a very bad case. What you people should do is to arrange for a few of us and do “the right thing”, not empty promise. It is an advise”. And I replied him, “Demolition goes on everywhere. Imo isn’t an exception. Those who wrote about dead people will soon be invited to give clue. Write the truth, don’t wait until you are given money and you know I can’t do that. We are watching”.
He stated “We believed and still believe that the relocation of Ekeukwu Market was noble and People-oriented and we didn’t need to “arrange” for anything for anybody, for the truth to be told”