In a bid to intimidate and/or silent opposing voices against the Theodore Orji administration, the Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji has allegedly threatened to tackle journalists who writes balanced stories that may depict the his administration in a negative light.
The governor was said to have dished out the threat while meeting with the Abia State correspondent of the Statesman newspaper, Henrietta Ashikodi who had written a report which the governor believed was not flattery. Henrietta Ashikodi had reported on the delay in the payment of salaries to council workers and the associate strike action.
According to a source close to the activities at the government house in Abia State, the governor threatened to deal with Ashikodi over the report. “The governor invited the lady over the report and harassed the lady to submission as she was visibly shaken with fear, crying and pleading with the governor that she was not the person who did the report, but could not tell how her name was used on the story. The governor warned her to go and sin no more” stated the source who continued to add that the Governor of Abia State added further “Do you know I can put you out of circulation?”
Cursory inquiry by 247ureports.com found that the governor has had a history of not tolerating unfriendly reports against his government. Governor Orji once gave the Vanguard correspondent, Anayo Okoli the same treatment when his reports became unbearable to his government. As a source stated, “He called Okoli into his office and warned him to change, since then; Okoli who was known as an activist journalist has since toned down his reports”.
The case of Sam Odita who formerly served as the Aba correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) can be recalled – when Governor Orji allegedly invited him to his office over a report he wrote against his government. Reports have it that he was warned to retrace his step or be dealt with.
“Any attempt not honor the invitation by the governor will worsen the matter. The best thing any journalist does in such situation is to appeal to those close to the governor to plead with him before honoring the invitation which is meant to cow them,” stated a source who reports for a national daily from Umuahia.