The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Enugu State Council, has expressed shock over the demolition of the perimeter fence of the Press Centre along Rangers Ave. Independence Layout, Enugu.
The Council Chairman, Mr. Rex Arum who spoke to newsmen on Monday, described as “a betrayal of trust” the sudden demolition of the fence on Monday in spite of pleas from the council for the amicable resolution of the issues at stake.
He said though the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) had marked the frontal perimeter fence for demolition on the ground that the fence was few meters beyond the town planning stipulation, the council had made efforts to negotiate with it on how to settle the matter without exposing the centre to insecurity.
He said: “We tried to negotiate with the state government on how to resolve the issue so that no party would suffer unduly.
“We even presented some official land documents to back up our claims but the state government suddenly sent an earth moving equipment and demolished the fence.
“The foregoing has exposed this premises to insecurity and we are worried that the centre is no longer safe.
“State governors are supposed to be the grand patrons of the NUJ in their respective states.
“We have severally appealed to the state government for the renovation of the Unity Hall in the Press Centre but what we got was a demolition.
“If the state government had acceded to our appeal for the renovation in order to give the centre a face lift, perhaps, it would have taken care of the issues with the perimeter fence.”
Arum described the action of the state government as an `affront’ on the media.
“The media have been working toward the progress of the state but what we got in return was demolition,” Arum said.
When contacted prior to the arrival of the earth moving equipment, the Chairman of the ECTDA, Mr. Ken Onoh declined comments and hurriedly left the scene with the excuse that the governor had called him.
Meanwhile, the News Agency of Nigeria quoted the Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr. Chidi Aroh, as saying that he had not been briefed on the demolished perimeter fence.
Aroh however, said that with his knowledge as a former commissioner of ECTDA, the perimeter fence would not have been brought down if it did not go beyond the expected point.
The commissioner said that the NUJ chairman needed to get in touch with the officials of the ECTDA to sort out the gray areas.
NAN reports that the Press Centre in Enugu donated to the defunct East Central Journalists Union by the then Administrator, East Central States, Dr. Ukpabi Asika in 1971, is the oldest in the Southeast.