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Mild Drama as Enugu NUJ Rejects Governor Ugwuanyi’s COVID-19 Palliatives

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From Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – There was a mild drama on Saturday at the premises of the Enugu state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ, as members of the association rejected the palliatives from the state Government over alleged interference in the union activities.

The governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led government had brought food items which included bags of rice, tubers of yam and  cartons of tin tomatoes, to the NUJ pres center with a view to donating them to Journalists in the state, to cushion the effect of the covid-19 lockdown currently affecting Nigerians.

However, trouble began when the government representatives led by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Chidi Aroh announced before the huge number of the NUJ members that the items were for the alleged two factions in the union.

He said that he heard that there are two factions of the union in the state, and that the items should be shared among  them, a statement the Acting Vice president of the NUJ, South East zone,  Comrade Kenneth Ofoma , swiftly countered, saying the Union has no faction in the state.

Ofoma, who frowned at the Commissioner’s statement, insisted that Enugu state council of the NUJ remains one, adding that he does not understand the issue of factionalization the information Commissioner is talking about. 

According to Ofoma, “Enugu NUJ remains one family under the leadership of the state chairman, Comrade Rex Arum and under the National body led by Chief Christopher Isiguzo.

The south East NUJ leader, hinted  that the other group who are parading themselves as a faction  were those suspended by the National body over anti-union activities, stressing that any state executive other than that of Comrade Arum  was illegal, and unknown to the national leadership of the union.

Also speaking on the development, the state NUJ chairman, Comrade Arum,  who equally expressed disappointment  with the suspended members, said that the union would not accept the palliative since the government decided to recognize an illegal group as members.

He wondered why the state government should be listening to the illegal group comprised only seven persons as against over 200 journalists in the state.

The NUJ chairman,  said  that government should have handed over the items to the state council as it did to the Radio and Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) for onward distribution to its members saying “the other group parading themselves as a faction is illegal because they are not recognized by the National body of the union in Abuja .

Arum, asked: How can you share the items between 200 journalists  and seven illegal persons. You can see that they did the right thing for RATTAWU and they collected their own, but the government refused to do same to the NUJ, its quite unfortunate.

Some journalists who spoke to African Examiner under condition of anonymity, condemned the idea of government trying to allegedly sow seed of discord in the union.

“It is a very simple thing, if  government wants to know who is the  authentic chairman of NUJ in Enugu state, why not find out from the union’s national secretariat in Abuja, instead of this show of shame” said a member of the union.”


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