By AFAM Echi
An Owerri based legal practitioner and former Senior Special Assistant to the Abia State Governor on Media, Barr Emperor, Iwuala has berated the Imo branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists NUJ, over their silence on a suspended colleague.
He made the condemnation in a telephone chat with Edge Express while expressing his views on the state of governance in Imo.
It would be recalled that the management of the Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) had earlier in the month suspended one of its senior staff, Barr. Vivian Ottih, for making public comments concerning unpaid salaries of the Corporation staff. Ottih is the chairperson of the Imo National Union of Women Journalists, NAWOJ.
In response to a question on the falsehood peddled about by both the opposition and the government in power, he lambasted the NUJ over their inaction on a suspended colleague.
In his words, ”the worst is the journalists. See what happened to a fellow journalist. The NUJ have not even issued a statement because they feel that they would lose government patronage. Their major source of income is carrying government news. And it is the head of an arm of NUJ, NAWOJ that was attacked. That would tell you that there is no love among them.”
When reminded that NAWOJ has made a statement towards that, he asked, ”what about NUJ, what is NAWOJ?
He reminded that when some journalists were barred in Ebonyi, the pressure even came from here against the government. ”That was what I was expecting so that next time they will not touch a journalist. They are just politicians and unpatriotic to their members”.
Continuing, Iwuala stated, ”I can’t imagine some journalists saying that someone has no right to complain that he is being owed. Can you imagine? The constitution provides freedom of speech and there is no subsidiary law running contrary to this and if any to the extent of the inconsistency would be null and void.
“I headed the information department of the deputy governor and I read their books on civil service rules and due process, there is nothing like that. If it existed that must be under the military not when the constitution is there. You that owes are you justified? You beat a child and you don’t want her to cry.
“I thought by now the government would have come under fire because a journalist is involved. I am highly disappointed. Is it because no battery was involved or is it because it is a woman? The journalists are sending wrong signals that they not love themselves. So far the suspension of the journalist who is a nursing mother has attracted public outcry. The government owes the workers three month’s salary arrears leading to a social media comment by the woman for which the employers felt embarrassed.