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Imo NAWOJ elects new Exco …As NUJ disowns “Caretaker Committee”

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The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Imo State has elected a new executive. Mrs. Dorothy Nnaji of the Information Chapel emerged State Chairman while Chika Ewurum of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (Heartland FM Owerri) was returned unopposed as Secretary. The election was held at the New NUJ Press Centre, New Owerri, May 22.

Others elected were: Mrs. Vivian Iwu, Vice Chairman and Gloria Allison, Financial Secretary.

The returning officer, Comrade Helen Udofia who is the National Secretary of NAWOJ while announcing the results commended Imo NAWOJ members for conducting themselves peacefully during and after the election, pointing out that the election has proved the position and choice of Imo women journalists.
The national scribe who represented the President of the Association, Mrs Ladi Bala urged the new executive to conduct bye-election to fill vacant positions.

The National Trustee of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chief Innocent Igwe, the former State Chairman of the NUJ, Chief Fidel Onyeneke and the current chairman, Imo NUJ, Chief Chris Akaraonye and other members of the exco witnessed the election.

In her acceptance speech, the new chairman, Mrs. Dorothy Nnaji promised to deliver on her campaign promises for the growth of the Association.

According to Mrs. Nnaji, she will protect and defend the members and also seek external collaborations during her tenure.

Meanwhile, reports just reaching our news desk indicated that a parallel election of NAWOJ was held simultaneously at the NUJ Press Centre, Port Harcourt Road, Owerri which returned Mrs. Vivian Ottih as chairman for second term.

Vivian who was former NAWOJ Chairman, was suspended by the Imo State Government for allegedly demanding payment of salary for herself and other IBC workers. Her suspension has been condemned by a section of journalists and the public.

Also, a body claiming to be NUJ Caretaker Committee has been operating in the state for sometime now. But Chief Akaraonye-led NUJ said the so called Caretaker Committee is illegal.

The Committee arose following allegation that the current NUJ executive was planning to sell the strategic NUJ Press Centre along Port Harcourt Road, a move the “Caretaker Committee” said it would be over their dead body.

Recall that the former Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha built a new NUJ Press Centre at New Owerri for journalists. It was not clear why the governor built the new complex because NUJ already has a befitting Press Centre, along Port Harcourt Road. This generosity has generated various speculations on the strategic Press Centre .

Meanwhile, NUJ national body has condemned the Caretaker Committee, describing the members as “dissidents”.

The National President of the union, Mr. Christopher Isiguzo directed the Chairman, Imo NUJ, to lock up the Old NUJ Press Centre on Port Harcourt Road if not in use. The Caretaker Committee operates from the Press Centre.

Speaking in Owerri on Tuesday, the NUJ boss advised any aggrieved member to follow laid-down procedure of seeking redress instead of taking laws into his hands.

Similarly, the National President of NAWOJ, Mrs. Ladi Bala has distanced herself from the election that produced Mrs. Vivian Ottih as Chairman Imo NAWOJ, insisting that Mrs. Nnaji is the authentic NAWOJ Chairman.

This means that the virus which is currently attacking the main body, NUJ, Imo State, may have spread to NAWOJ.

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Killings in Imo: It’s time to change strategy – Anglican Archbishop Onuoha

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Killings in Imo: It's time to change strategy – Anglican Archbishop Onuoha

As the state of insecurity in Imo State continues to deteriorate by the day, following the killing of Umu Imo by unknown gunmen and security operatives, which has now reached an alarming level, religious leaders of various Christian denominations have joined their voices in calling for a stop to it and appealing for a way out of the violence.

A press release issued by Most Rev. Dr. David O.C. Onuoha, Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Anglican Communion, on  Friday June 4, 2021 reads:

“That the people of the Southeast have been unfairly treated by the Federal Government is not in contention. It is also not in doubt that recent agitations by people of the zone are fuelled by their consistent and flagrant marginalization in the Nigerian project. The agitations are further propelled by persistent failure of agents of state to take the expected strong stand against killings and maiming of people in their homes by so-called killer herdsmen,

“While the underpinnings of the provoked agitations are understandable, I wish to call on those who are agitating to review their strategy and shun all forms of violence so as not to play into the hands of men whose real goal may be to set lgboland backwards by turning it into a theatre of war. The threat to wreck on lgboland worse havoc than we passed through during the war must not be taken lightly.

“What we have witnessed in Imo State, in the past couple of weeks leaves one no choice but to conclude that the threat of extermination of lgbos by people with access to instruments of coercion is real.

The killing of umu Imo by unknown gun men and security operatives has reached such an alarming level that we really need to stop, reflect and quickly find a way to bring back order.

While not in anyway absolving those who are guilty of shedding other people’s blood for whatever reason, we strongly insist that the indiscriminate arrest and murder of innocent citizens should cease.

“To this effect, it is necessary for government to note that its strong-arm strategy has not been effective. If anything, it is worsening the security situation and creating room for further distrust of its sincerity. The present clampdown strategy is fuelling the insinuation of ‘enslavement’ and making it difficult for elders to convince their younger ones to look onto only God for justice. It is imperative for Government therefore to take immediate measures to de-escalate the prevailing tension.

“I passionately call on all well-meaning citizens of Imo state and indeed lgboland to shun partisanship and unite in an urgent search for a solution to this crisis.

Our Governor needs to rise up now and provide the fatherly leadership that will ensure the return of peace in the state. apatriotic Think-Tank is required at this time for the best way out of this ugly situation. No sacrifice in this direction is too big for our survival as a people.”

May we be steadfast in prayer for the Good Lord to intervene in this situation and deliver us from this trouble.

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Illegal Arrest: Imo lawyers set up help desk

PRESS RELEASE BY NBA, OWERRI

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Illegal Arrest: Imo lawyers set up help desk

Sequel to the meeting with the Commissioner of Police and the Security Adviser to the Governor, it’s heart warming to report that a Help Desk has now been set up at the Bar Centre to collate the names of innocent Imolites unjustly arrested and detained by the Nigeria Police for the purpose of securing their release.

The Bar, through its committee on Human Rights will anchor and coordinate the help desk at the Bar center to entertain complaints on unlawful arrest and detention of Imolites.

Complaints received will be taken up with the appropriate quarters in order to secure the release of these detainees; considering that the Courts are not sitting owing to the JUSUN strike.

This approach is dictated by the precarious security situation in Imo State at the moment which has the semblance of a war situation. The outcome of our interactions reveal that there is more to the situation than meets the eye.

The Human Rights Help Desk of the Bar will open from tomorrow, 4th day of June,2021 at the Bar centre from 10am or so soon thereafter .

The help desk phone lines to call are;
08035251755
08035512622
08079285239
Be calm but vigilant.

Uzor Enwere
Publicity Secretary,
NBA Owerri.
3.06.2021

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Ubowala Ruga Settlement: Our lives in danger – Community Leaders cry out

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Ubowala Ruga Settlement: Our lives in danger - Community Leaders cry out

The last may not have been heard about the uncovering of 10 hectares of land being cleared for Ruga settement at Acharaubo in Ubowala Autonomous Community in Owerri North LGA.
It should be recalled that on Monday May 17, our reporter, Stan Amadi went to the community to find out what led to the peaceful protest that day by the entire community.

We understand that the protest was due to the portion of Acharaubo land, which the community said government secretly allocated for the establishment of Ruga for Fulani Herdsmen, which the community objected to. The people of the area have been insisting that what they needed are developmental projects and not Ruga Settlement for Fulani Herdsmen. These facts were disclosed to The Leader by the Secretary of the Community, Mr. Zeph Ovuoh and the youth President, Mr. Chima Chuks.

Latest investigations into the matter revealed that since the exposure of the plan for the Ruga settlement, which the State Government is yet to respond to as at the time of filing this report, news making the rounds has it that the lives of Mr. Zeph Ovuoh Secretary of the Community and that of the Youth President, Mr. Chima Chuks are now under threat.

Mr. Ovuoh disclosed this to our reporter Stan Amadi on Tuesday May 26, during a telephone conversation expressing fear over threats to his life, Mr. Ovuoh told our reporter that he wanted him to be aware of what he has been facing for speaking with The Leader on the community’s stand against the establishment of Ruga Settlement for Fulani Herdsmen. I only disclosed to press the stand of the community, that what we needed are developmental projects and not Ruga Settlement for Fulani Herdsmen.

Recall that in our last week’s edition, during an exclusive interview, the Youth President, Mr. Chima Chuks, also told The Leader; “We have been here for years without any form of development or employment for the youths, all of a sudden, they want to use the place for RUGA. We say no to that, we want to live with human beings and not cows”.

While answering questions on the people that came to Ubowala to clear the Acharaubo land, Mr. Chima said. “They claimed they were sent by the Federal Government.”

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