January 29, 2023

MWUN threatens journalist over 20 illegal checkpoints story

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.. Accuses him of issuing COMTUA press release

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Erazua Oniha, has threatened to deal with Mr Jerry Aguigbo, publisher, TodayNews online, accusing him of issuing the press statement circulated by the Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA).

Mr Aguigbo’s crime was that he, like many other journalist, did a story from the COMTUA press statement issued on Monday, where it accused MWUN of mounting 20 illegal checkpoints between Mile 2 and Coconut bus stop.

Aguigbo, who is the Secretary-General, Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN), had before writing the story contacted Mr Oniha to get the union’s side of the story and verbously reflected that in his report on Monday.

Oniha later on Tuesday called and asked for the journalist’s WhatsApp number to enable him despatch the union’s response to the COMTUA allegations to him. This, the journalist did without wasting time.

Trouble however, started when Aguigbo tried to correct an impression in the first paragraph of the response, which attributed the COMTUA press statement to him and his medium, pointing out to Oniha that he merely reported the story and never issued the release.

Here is MWUN response to COMTUA: “The attention of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria has been drawn to a press release making the rounds released by an online media, “TodayNews” anchored by one Jerry Aguigbo published January 16, 2023: targeting the personage of the President General and other union officials while alleging MWUN involvement in activities outside its jurisdictional scope and membership composition…”

When the journalist tried to let him realise that he never issued the release as their response indicated, Oniha flared up, commanding him to use the rejoinder verbatim as signed by the Secretary General, Comrade Felix S. Akingboye like that

He threatened that the journalist would “see the other side of me” if he failed to do what he had ordered him to do.

Recall that many journalists did the COMTUA story even without any recourse to MWUN but Aguigbo expressly reflected the union’s reaction, as stated by Oniha in a telephone conversation, in his own report.

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