THE event of July 19 in Abia State where a police officer, Corporal Umoru Mohammed attached to Government House Umuahia allegedly shot his colleague, Corporal Clement Amachi to death, calls for serious concern, thorough investigation and total overhauling of the country’s security apparati, especially the Police.
Some may say that the ugly incident is not unusual, as we have witnessed similar incidents in the past where a police officer killed his colleague. But that is beside the point.
Since the alleged incident occurred, I have been following media reports both on the internet and in the newspapers and I have strongly observed the bias and contradictory reportage by a newspaper owned by a chieftain of an opposition party in the state, even as the matter is still under investigation by the appropriate authorities.
In the July 20 publication of the newspaper was a story which headline alleged that the late police man was killed in a shoot-out over a largesse from Governor Theodore Orji.
The report, with a by-line, claimed that according to hospital sources, Mohammed allegedly killed Amachi because of differences over the sharing of N2.5 million given to them by Governor Orji.
Among all the national dailies in the country, it was only the said paper that raised the allegation against Governor Orji on the incident, even without caring or bothering to get the Governor or his government’s side of the story.
On page 6 of the same newspaper of July 21, another story titled: “Shoot-Out In Abia Govt. House: Suspect Incoherent, Denies Killing Anybody, Sedated” was published on the incident, but without byline, indicating it was a syndicated story. In the concluding part of the story, it was claimed that the cause of the incident has not been unravelled.
Again in the July 22 issue of the newspaper, another story was published on page 10 titled: “Abia Govt. House Shooting Not Boko Haram–CP; Accused Policeman Leaves Intensive Unit”. The story was also without any byline and the concluding part of it claimed that the shooting was linked to the sharing formula of N2.5 million gift from Governor Orji.
Even without being a journalist, we all know that the basic principles of news writing and reporting are objectivity, fairness, balance and clarity. All these ingredients were lacking in the paper’s reportage of the incident since it occurred.
The reports were full of bias and contradictions, thereby clearly indicating a vested interest in the matter, possibly with the intention of embarrassing the state government over political differences with their paymaster.
For how would the newspaper within three days publish different and contradicting stories on a particular incident, without caring to get the other side of the story? Since the incident occurred, neither Gov. Orji nor any of his aides has made a public statement on the matter except his ex-media aide, Mr. Ugochukwu Emezue, who condemned the incident and assured that it would be thoroughly investigated and dealt with accordingly.
Governor Orji’s silence on the matter even as the chief security officer of the state is quite commendable, because it will allow the appropriate authorities to investigate the incident without interference or bias.
The media all over the world should serve as a vehicle for societal development, an agent of change and protection of the society, not a campaign tool for calumny and political blackmailing as this newspaper has exhibited in recent times against the Abia State government. The alleged shooting incident is certainly a cause for worry to anybody who wishes the state well, and so should not be trivailised or politicised for no just cause.
It has shown how petty and mischievous politicians can be in using the media for destruction and incitement. It is very obvious that policemen in the country some times act under Dutch courage, especially when they are on duty, which explains their occasional misbehaviour.
That is why it has become imperative that officers of the Nigeria Police Force should be made to undergo routine pyshcratic test from time to time to ascertain the correctness of their minds. If such ugly incident could occur between two policemen attached to Government House, what is the safety of the man they are supposed to be protecting in the person of Governor Orji?
The alleged incident has shown that the Governor may not be safe at all, and such development calls for adequate concern and urgent attention from all quarters. No stone should be left unturned in investigating and ascertaining the remote cause of the alleged incident because the likes of Mohammed might be an agent of forces against Abia people who will stop at nothing in pulling the state down.
The biased and contradictory reports of the newspaper in question should not discourage the appropriate authorities from investigating the matter thoroughly.
LOVETH CHIEBO a medical doctor, wrote from Jos, Plateau State.