Miracle Chinedu Enuji, a journalist with Asaba Metro online news portal, is currently being threatened with violence by officials of the Delta State government and the leadership of the state branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) over a report on Mr. Davide Edevbie, Delta State Finance Commissioner.
The report was based on what Mr. Edevbie was said to have told members of the NUJ Exco during a meeting in his office on Wednesday.
The NUJ delegation, led Vice Chairman, Mr. Patrick Ochei, had visited the Finance Commissioner to solicit for funds to organize the union's Press Week. While speaking with the NUJ members, Mr. Edevbie was said to have given an unflattering assessment of successive Peoples Democratic Party-led governments in the state and was reported by the Asaba Metro online news portal.
Sources present at the meeting with Mr. Edevbie quoted the Commissioner as saying: "With the resources that we have and what we had over the last 17 years, we should have been as developed as Lagos and Abuja. I don’t know what happened to us. ”
Sahara Reporters learned that Mr. Edevbie was sore that what he said was reported and informed the NUJ leadership of his displeasure. Having being promised money for its Press Week by the Commissioner, the NUJ leadership, it was gathered, started threatening Mr. Enuji.
A member of the NUJ delegation confirmed to SaharaReporters that Mr. Edevbie made the wounding remark. Since the union leaders knew that publishing it could jeopardize the financial assistance promised, the source said, they chose to leave it out. The source, however, said they do not know how it was leaked to Mr. Enuji.
When contacted, Mr. Enuji said he has been receiving several threats, via phone calls, from government officials and some members of the NUJ executive.
The NUJ, in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. Michael Ikeogwu, and Secretary, Mr. Churchill Oyowe, disowned Mr. Enuji, describing him as a "social media tiger".
"We wish to state that we were taken aback with the report by yet to be identified writer trying to attract unnecessary attention by creating friction between the Delta State Government and the NUJ Delta State Council, through deliberate misrepresentation and misinterpretation of facts."
"The Finance Commissioner sincerely bemoaned the fact that we as Deltans generally do not live up to expectations in terms of socio-economic development with the abundant human and material resources the state is blessed with. He wondered why we do very well outside the state and have failed within to utilize our potentials to better the state's fortunes."
"The report is baseless, unprofessional and a figment of the imagination of the writer," said the NUJ in the statement.
It described the report as emanating from social media tigers, who want to tarnish Mr. Edevbie's image.
"NUJ Delta holds in very high esteem the Commissioner for Finance, who has distinguished himself as an uncommon intellectual," added the NUJ.