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The Unethical Publication Against Gov. T A Orji (Rejoinder)

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State
Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State

Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State

The pilot newspaper of Saturday, September 28, 2013, embarked on a mission of utmost mendacity and blackmail on the people of Abia State and further malign the person of Governor T A Orji, and as it is usual with such odious hatchet jobs, they employed highly unethical modus operandi to attain their aim. Unfortunately for them, the truth about kidnapping in Abia is a well known story to Nigerians and the world.  To all discerning minds, it is evident that the pilots screaming headline on the said publication at the front page was hardly substantiated in the following stories on pages  55 and 56.

Abia, like other states in the Southeast and South-south had experienced the harrowing problems of kidnapping, but Abia’s was reported excessively by detractors who wanted Chief T A Orji to get into trouble and be listed among the  states where state of emergency were declared but God demurred. The master stroke of Sir T A Orji dealt with kidnapping to a terminal level so superfluously delivered that since then, the Gov has been piling laurels and receiving awards at home and abroad to the extent that no other than the chief security officer of our country, The Inspector General of the Police, IGP Mohamed D Abubarka admitted publicly in a forum that Abia is a case study on crime.

Before the inks dried on the papers of journalists who reported on the observation of the IGP, the Abba Gana led group empanelled by the presidency bestowed the Gov with an award as a National Peace Ambassador, thereby crowning  him as a consultant on peace. According to one Nigerian newspaper, the Governor’s profile rose greatly. As was stated: ‘By this award, a great national honour, Orji becomes the light bearer for peace and harmony in Nigeria. He comes to represent not just the ideal but the very dynamics for the attainment of peace. The governor is the new symbol of peace, a brand ambassador for the proposition of the essence and value of peace. He is to serve, in the ongoing search, as the reference point to how best to achieve peace and national unity. As the dialogue and negotiation progress, Orji would become the inspiration for the affirmation of the possibility of national peace. For the promoters and advocates, Orji’s portrait might serve as the new signage for the campaign for a new Nigeria of peaceful co-existence.’

It is on verifiable record that all the newspaper interviews granted by the governor, one recurring question has been: ‘how did you make it?’ What magic did you do?

According to experts on criminology, crime has become an unwanted partner to growing cities. The New York Police Department NYPD, the London Metropolitan Police, and the Policia in Rome have bloated budgets for crime fighting. It is not only in Nigeria and Abia and should not be personalized. The concerned forces like the army, police, Civil Defence are battling the emerging crimes like pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, cybercrime and others,  so why should Abia be spotted on such negative headline If the pilot means well?

On August 24, 2013, Mike Ozekhome SAN, a front-line lawyer on human rights while on a trip along Benin-Auchi Road was kidnapped and kept in captivity for two weeks. A rescue team of four policemen were killed in the process. On September 7, Archbishop of the Anglican Communion, Ignatius Kattey  was dastardly handled and kidnapped at Aleto near Eleme Port Harcourt Rivers State and his lovely wife abandoned in the car they were traveling in. Not too long ago, a traditional Prime Minister, Iyase of Udo near Benin was kidnapped. There are equally cases of three Lebanese, one Briton who were taken in Victoria Island and other Chinese citizens, Xue Song and Zhangwen on July 15 were abducted in Ikorodu Lagos State. These states have not been profiled in such negative terms neither have their governors been so attacked.

The reports on page 56 of the said publication inadvertently gave good evidence that the police in Abia are working, arresting, interrogating and prosecuting in courts of law so why profile Abia and drag the Governors photograph with a screaming headline if it is not a smear campaign?

Talking about baby factories discovered in Aba is another rigmarole. Cases of Baby factories is another crime that is giving the police nightmare and they have recorded success in tracking these varying crimes. On September 2013, one Dr Akpudache was caught by police in his Moon Light Clinic and Maternity in Enugu State.  In October 2011, 17 pregnant girls were rescued by police in Ihiala, Anambra State. These are few examples and these did not happen in Abia alone. These arrests and the awareness created bears testimony that crime is not allowed to run roughshod or unchecked.

We keep saying that owning a newspaper or a page is not enough reason to write damaging reports about people. That Abia Governor is linient should not be seen as weakness. Journalism practice has applicable laws guiding the practice and can easily be invoked against The pilot and their colleagues whose pastime is maligning for pay and recognition. The guild of editors should scrutinize such cases that can easily drag their name to the mud.

The Sun Newspaper and the Nation all have special publications on specific pages on crime where gunrunning and armed robbery make scintillating readings especially the border areas and states like Lagos and Ogun. These states have not received the type of bashing that pilot Newspaper has piled on Abia.

That the Pilot is used for this dirty job is no surprise. The pilot unlike other papers is not even in the Internet for online readers, that for one shows their level.

We noticed that those who took it upon themselves to run Abia down slowed down for about two months and  have not done their usual act, so we knew that they were hatching plans having made no success in the past. The truth is that the Pilot, a publication that hardly makes up to 20% sales of their publication is on its way down, consequently in a hurry to drag innocent people along to join the numerous publications that have gone under over the years. The syndrome of the drowning man, who catches every straw available, is at play here as the pilot is rendering damaging publications on everybody not caring whoever they may hurt.

Facts are sacred and opinion is free and I am sure that the pilot with their poor showing, its days are numbered. Embarking on making negative publications cannot save them. It is just a matter of time, history will vindicate the just.

By Eddie Onuzuruike

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