By Ori Martins
I write you with every sense of humility, patriotism but with deep pain and agony. My heart burns with sorry and despair following the fearful incident that took place in the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists , NUJ, Imo State Council, located at the ever boisterous Owerri – Port Harcourt Road.
A situation where a group of people parading as journalists, armed with dangerous weapons, invaded our hallowed premises and severely attacked our members as well as occupants of the facility who were legally engaged, is not only an affront to this noble profession called journalism but it is also an attack and violation of our fundamental human rights individually and collectively as professionals and law abiding citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The attack yesterday on the NUJ secretariat has confirmed the brutality, chaotic and indisciplined inclination of the persons who orchestrated that dastard act, their sponsors and associates towards rule of law, due process, constitution and constitutionalism.
Remarkably, and this point must to be noted, the Imo State NUJ is in court pertaining the contentious issue of the body’s leadership election. The court, in its wisdom ruled that all matters involving elections should be stopped untill the matter is dispensed.
Yet, the lawless persons who ruthlessly invaded the NUJ secretariat yesterday recklessly disregarded the court’s order to hold an election. As if that was not enough injury and insult, they, like rampaging mutineers on a putsch race, forcefully invaded our peaceful and serine state headquarters, wounding many in their wake.
It must be recorded that this group, like the biblical Judas Iscariot, had conceived and subsequently sold this same facility to a former governor of Imo State through an illegal, flawed and condemnable process that had all the trappings of an Obtain By Tricks hue otherwise codenamed 419. It took the resilient and resoluteness of the other council members led by the sophisticated chairman, Comrade Precious Nwadike, to recover the property which they now want to take and possess by force.
Sir, our findings point to the fact that the Imo State commissioner of information, Hon Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba, for reasons best known to him, is allegedly backing and giving this lawless group support by aiding them with all manner of logistics and state push. Therefore, Emelumba is the one allegedly fanning the embers of hatred within the ranks and file of Imo NUJ. We pray you call him to order, to give professionalism a chance for peace to reign.
It is inconceivable that the journalists who ought to inform, educate and point the way forward to do things aright would be the ones disobeying court orders with absolute disdain, rascality and high degree of impunity.
We call on the Imo State Commissioner of Police to urgently investigate the mindless attack on Imo State NUJ secretariat, with the view of unraveling both the the remote and immediate causes that led to that heinous and imprudent act., consequently bringing the perpetrators to book.
We thank the CP for acting fast by releasing our leaders who were picked up yesterday during the melee ignited by the attackers.