Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has disowned audio and video recordings being circulated on social media where he allegedly banned two journalists for life.
The government have been having running battles with the Vanguard and The Sun correspondents in the state for allegedly publishing unfavourable reports about Ebonyi.
Chijioke Agwu of The Sun newspapers was arrested on April 19 over his report on Lassa fever ravaging the state while Peter Okutu of Vanguard was arrested on April 21 over his report on the invasion of Ohaukwu local government by the military.
In a statement on Thursday by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Francis Nwaze, the governor described the recordings as ‘doctored’ aimed at misleading the public.
Mr Nwaze said the journalists’ reports raised alarm and caused panic in the midst of the fight against the coronavirus.
“There is no case of confirmed death caused by Lassa fever recently in Ebonyi neither was there any killing by the Nigerian military last weekend in the state,” he said.
“The reports were ill-conceived and have no truth in them as both newsmen were never embarrassed, intimidated or harassed to the knowledge of the governor in any government event.
“The governor never ordered such ban and he called the attention of the NUJ (Nigeria Union of Journalists) leadership in the state on April 15, and April 22, advising it to ensure that its members always verified their reports in the state’s and nation’s interests.”
Nwaze called on the NUJ and the public to overlook the reports, audio and video recordings, saying they were figments of imagination of the bearers.
“It is a delicate attempt to smear the hard-earned reputation and good relationship of the governor with the media,” he said.