The governor of Ebonyi, David Umahi, on Thursday, April 23, 2020, debunked the audio and video recordings on social media where he allegedly banned two journalists for life for publishing what he considers to be false reports.
The government had been having running battles with the Vanguard and Sun correspondents in the state over the publishing of certain reports about Ebonyi state.
Chijioke Agwu of Sun newspapers was arrested by security operatives on April 19, over his report on Lassa fever ravaging the state while Peter Okutu of Vanguard was arrested on April 21, over his report on the invasion of Ohaukwu LGA by the military.
The governor in a statement signed by his special assistant on media and publicity, Francis Nwaze, described the audio and video recordings as ‘doctored’ aimed at misleading the public. Nwaze claims the two newsmen’s reports raised alarm and caused panic in the midst of the fight against COVID-19.
“There is no case of confirmed death caused by Lassa fever recently in Ebonyi neither was there any killing by the Nigerian military last weekend in the state. The reports were ill-conceived and have no truth in them as both journalists were never embarrassed, intimidated, or harassed to the knowledge of the governor in any government event”, he said.
Nwaze further added “The governor never ordered such ban and he called the attention of the NUJ leadership in the state on April 15, and April 22, advising it to ensure that its members always verified their reports in the state’s and nation’s interests.
Nwaze in the statement, called on the NUJ and the public to discountenance the false reports, audio, and video recordings as they were figments of the imagination of the bearers. “It is a delicate attempt to smear the hard-earned reputation and good relationship of the governor with the media,” the statement read.
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