Abia threatens to drag rumour mongers to court

Posted by Oko Ojogho, Umuahia | 23 March 2013 | 3,353 times

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Abia State Government has warned that it would henceforth take legal actions against any person or group that peddle falsehood against it.

Chief of Staff (COS) to the Governor, Mr. Cosmos Ndukwe, gave the warning while briefing newsmen in the state capital Umuahia yesterday. He also threatened that media practitioners and media owners who allow their media to be used as a tool of blackmail against the government would be brought to book.

According the COS, the government is out to do battle with those that have been willfully maligning it for no just cause.

Ndukwe was speaking against the background of the vindication of the state government and authorities of Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) following the declaration by the police that the gang rape of August 2011 did not take place in ABSU.

That rape yielded a global video clip posted on the internet by the rapists after their exploits with a young woman. The perpetrators were alleged to be students of ABSU. It was also said that the incident also took place in ABSU.

When both the Abia State Government and ABSU authorities, after painstaking investigations, put up a strong denial that the incident never took place on the shores of Abia neither were the perpetrators students of ABSU, they were accused of shielding the hoodlums.

It became an issue for public discourse to the extent that it was debated in the National Assembly.

However, as reported yesterday by News Express, the police have confirmed that the ugly incident took place in Rivers State. Three of the gang rapists have since been nabbed are currently facing trail at a magistrate court in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.

Ndukwe said the unmasking of the rapists has vindicated the claims by Abia State Government that those spreading the rumours then were political foes.   

In the light of the police exposition, Ndukwe observed that “the reactions to the alleged ABSU gang rape were hasty and, to say the least, made with so much bad blood. It is therefore important that the members of the fourth estate of the realm as custodians of vital information always cross check our facts before going to press. Sometimes, we could cause incalculable and irredeemable damage when we publish without cross-checking.”

He then warned: “Henceforth, the state government would undertake extreme legal actions against any person or group of persons who trade in spreading dangerous rumours against the state government.”

According to the COS, “Government has provided enabling environment (at huge cost) for all persons to carry out their legitimate businesses in Abia State. Government will thus brand any person or group engaged in this vicious promotion of hate as enemy, given the need to consolidate on the gains of securing Abia from the stranglehold of dare-devil criminals.”

While commending the police unravelling the rapists, Ndukwe enjoined them to go a step further and unmask those who linked Abia State to the heinous crime.

•Photo: Abia State Governor Theodore Orji.

Source: News Express

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