ABIA: Female Journalist attacked, held hostage by PRO, staff of Ministry of Women Affairs in Umuahia ( See Audio)

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ABIA: Female Journalist attacked, held hostage by PRO, staff of ministry of women affairs in Umuahia

A female Journalist practising in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State,
Miss Charity Uwakwe, popularly known as Distinguished Chacha), a Correspondent of Nigerian Horn Newspaper was in the early hours of today, Friday, June 30, 2023, brutally assaulted by some staff of Ministry of Women Affairs, led by the Public Relations Officer, (PRO), Mrs. Oluchi Franklin.

According to the victim, she had gone to inquire about the CBN project under the South-East Entrepreneurial Development Centre, (SEEDC) from the management, as she learnt the management was housed by the said ministry.

The Reporter she had gone to the Ministry with a view to ascertaining how many Abians had benefited from the said programme and to also know what other subsequent programmes the Management had in stock hence the said programme still subsists in other States such as Cross River State as the South-South Entrepreneurial Development Center(SSEDC).

Distinguished Chacha who is also a Reporter at Famous Reporters, in her devastating state, said she was attacked at the office of the Principal, Skill Acquisitions, a section of the ministry, by the PRO who accused her of recording the former and consequently mobilised other staff of the ministry who abused her both physically and verbally.

However, the reporter who is currently battling with unbearable pains occasioned by the attack, said she merely went to the Principal to get directives as to how to gain access to the organisers of SEEDC to enable her to file her report.

Sharing her experience, she explained that trouble started when the PRO met her at the Principal’s office, a fair, slender, tall middle aged woman, (name withheld), and began dragging her cellphone.

Amidst tears, she lamented that she was bruised by the PRO on her shin bone, whom she wailed gripped her tightly by the collar and persistently pulled her back and forth, thus leaving her with internal injury in her neck, hence she has been having severe pains around the region.

Narrating her ordeal in the hands of staff of the ministry, with the PRO, one Oluchi Franklin, the traumatized journalists, Miss Charity Uwakwe, (aka. Distinguished Chacha), a staff of Famous Reporters said:

I heard about the perceived make-believe disbursement exercise organised by the management of South-East Entrepreneurship Development Centre, which was held at Ministry of Women Affairs and Rural Development.

Upon arrival at the gate, I met with one Mrs. Oluchi Franklin whom I later recognised as the PRO of Ministry of Women Affairs, as she was having a conversation with a man suspected to be her colleague and then I asked for the people incharge of SEEDC. Here is the conversation that took place between the PRO and our Reporter:

PRO: “This was where they held the disbursements on Tuesday. This place is Ministry of Women Affairs and those people used our facility to do their programme, they don’t have office here. Do you understand? From which medium, she asked.

Reporter: “Famous Reporters and Nigerian Horn Newspaper”.

PRO: “why didn’t you come that day to get that first hand information? Some journalists were here and even BCA and they have aired it. That disbursement carried out on Tuesday, they just used our facility.”

Reporter: “I got the information very late and before I could arrive from Owerri, it was already too late so I opted to come on Wednesday but was deterred by the public holidays and I really need to get information as to how many students were graduated and stuff.
But, please, can I get a contact of any of the persons in charge who can equally speak to me.”

PRO: “My dear, like I said before, they used our facility.”

Reporter: “Oh, ma, you’re the PRO, I’ve just recognised your face.”

PRO: “Yes, I was just looking at you when you mentioned it because you should know me. I’m not a hidden person.”

Reporter: “I only met you once here when NAWOJANS visited the then Commissioner.”

PRO: “I don’t have their contacts but Mrs. Thomson, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Rural Women and Poverty Alleviation or Poverty Reduction. She normally comes here everyday.”

Reporter: “Can I get her number, please?”

PRO: I don’t have her number and she may come here today.

Reporter: But, please, in the absence of the Commissioner, can I speak with the Director?” I asked and then she was getting agitated and with a loud voice she thundered:

PRO: “Is it our thing? We don’t have any business with them. They paid and used our hall. We don’t have hand in whatever they’re doing, they just make use of our facility. That’s what I’m telling you. The thing is not affiliated with the Women Affairs in anyway. So, the person you can interview is that Special Assistant to the Governor on whatever that’s connected to it. We don’t have a hand in it.

Reporter: Sorry, ma, is there any way you can link my up with this woman in question?

PRO: You can hang on, you can sit here and wait she’s fair. Let me give you my number so that…(she murmured softly half to herself).
Continuing, she said: “I went for that NIPR meeting so I wasn’t here and our Ministry wasn’t invited.

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Reporter: “That means, what you are trying to say is that in all their programmes, Ministry of Women Affairs is not being carried along?

PRO: “Is not what I said ooo. Don’t quote me out of context.

Reporter: Like your ministry is not integrated into their activities?

PRO: I said that the programme they did, we do not have hands in the programme they held, that they made use of our facility. That’s all and I don’t have any of their contacts, I don’t know them.”

That was my initial conversation with her. So, while I tried to ask her where exactly she asked me to sit and wait, she trotted off and when her colleague asked her to conclude with me, she said: “I’m done with her. And then again, she muttered some words half to herself so I felt embarrassed and headed for the opposite direction. Meanwhile, her seemingly sudden hostility threw me into a state of suspense as I wondered what skeleton she had in her cupboard. Before then, her co-discussant had complained about the scorchy sun and they began to walk towards the shade so I followed them, while thinking that she was leading me to where to sit and wait. However, evidently, she was infuriated or was engrossed in her initial conversation with the man so I turned towards the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, my interest in the said programme was to ascertain if there would be a subsequent activity(ies) by the SEEDC because that same programme is still ongoing in some other Southern states. So, I proceeded to one of the buildings in that premises. All I needed was just anyone who could avail me a contact of any of either the participants or organisers.

So, I met some ladies in one of the offices where I had gone to sit, they directed me to two buildings and asked me to go there and inquire. So, I zoomed off and as I walked past the PRO, she made a remark which I considered quite deprecative, yet I remained mute.

May I state categorically that I was not satisfied with the PRO’s response, hence the S.A to the Governor whom she told me also did not have an affiliation with the SEEDC programme. That was why I proceeded to speak with some other person.

So, while I was walking towards the gate in an attempt to leave, I met a particular fair lady whom I learnt was a staff so I asked her if she knew about the SEEDC programme and then she said “no”, but then offered to take me to one other woman whom she said was the Principal of Skill Acquisitions (name withheld) so I smiled and followed her.

Upon getting to the Principal’s office, I introduced myself as a journalist to the woman I met there and at the same time, told her what I wanted.

The Principal said:

“We’re not part of SEEDC rather what we do in this department is Skill Acquisitions. SEEDC, is it not CBN that’s handling it? Are they still doing it? Well, here’s a different section. That lady you were standing with out there, does she know about it? She asked.

Responding, I said: “when I approached her she told me the ministry didn’t have a hand in SEEDC programme but I really need to get across to those people.” I replied.

Continuing, the principal said: “we don’t know anything about it. This one is Skill Acquisitions. So, it’s quite different from that one. But, when CBN came newly, it was that time that they introduced that SEEDC. I think that project has finished; I didn’t know maybe they started it again or another set of people are doing it. You can try CBN, you ask the gateman because they’ll not allow you enter.”

So, immediately, as I made for the door,
the PRO whom I figured was trailing me repeated the same belittling remarks she made earlier, implying that I refused to sit and wait for the S.A. to the governor’s arrival, whom she said might be coming to the office, to which I paid deaf ears to and suddenly, she pounced on me, alleging that I recorded my conversation with the Principal, as though the latter had said some indicting words.
The PRO, Oluchi Franklin grabbed me by the neck, as I was dressed in a turtle necked top, she twisted my dress, my left thumb which still hurts severely up until this moment. Shockingly, she gripped me tightly around my neck region and threatened to beat me if I didn’t surrender my phone. I thought it was a joke but was astonished when she struck me hard on my neck and I managed to dodge my face as that was her target.

I told her I didn’t record the Principal rather we were just having a conversation. Already, she had begun dragging me back and forth nonstop and I clearly told her I wouldn’t retaliate. She called me a foolish journalists, roadside journalist, untrained and many more different, unprintable names.

“You are a fool. A quack, roadside journalist, that’s how all of you in Abia keep moving from place to place, causing trouble for people in this State. I am the image marker of this ministry and I am paid to protect the ministry so if you think you can come here and take information and you think I will allow you. You will not leave here today until that your boss comes here.” Those were her harsh words to me.

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Yet I was struggling to be free from her grip. And I told her I wouldn’t retaliate even though she tried to kill me there. Because she made lots of threats and right at that time, her colleagues clustered around and she began dishing out lies to them. So, she called the heads of her office who threatened to destroy my phone or format it.

Here’s an audio recording of the attack:

Already, I had begun to feel heavy palpitations in my heart, my lips went dried and I was completely loosing my breath as she in particular had pushed me back and forth severally. She, alongside her colleagues and a certain man whom she said was a high ranking officer there insisted that I must be detained there up until my boss showed up. This went on for close to 2hours as I began noticing a breakdown in both my head and entire body.

Miss Charity Uwakwe's bruised shin (Aka. Distinguished Chacha), when she was attacked by the PRO and staff of Ministry of Women Affairs, Umuahia.
Miss Charity Uwakwe’s bruised, swollen shin (Aka. Distinguished Chacha), when she was attacked by the PRO and staff of Ministry of Women Affairs, Umuahia.

The most frightening aspect of the traumatic scenario was when the PRO tried to frame me up as I got a call from the publisher of ABN TV, Mr. Ifeanyi Ukali and Mr. Emenike Iroegbu of All Facts News (AFNews), called to ascertain what was going on, as I informed them that I had been held hostage. The PRO, to my stupefaction, in an attempt to feign hurt by me, began whining even to the amusement of her colleagues who apparently couldn’t hide their surprise, while she alleged that I kicked her in her belly inspite of she being pregnant (of course it was all drama to her because she was and is evidently without a bun in her oven). She said things like: “tell your boss that you blew me on my stomach and I’m pregnant; tell your boss that you called me a barren woman”, and other things she alleged, even as her colleagues laughed loudly because they knew she was actually acting a script. And those were exactly what she said she would allege if the matter was brought up.

Below is her voice as she mimicked of me as she tried to to frame me up as soon as I alerted a friend:

Although she gestured to her colleagues to keep mute as they were laughing at her display, while she tried to smear me, acting as though I was the one who had hurt her she warned her colleagues not to let me go saying I was journalists bent on ridiculing the image of the ministry; a journalist who had come to cause them some troubles, etc. Meanwhile, while she was very curious about what she suspected I had recorded, I asked her if she was guilty of something to which I got no response. What are you scared of and why don’t you want me to get to the right source? I asked her again yet she did not respond to that but was bent on ransacking my phone to get rid of any form of indictment, whatsoever.

Meanwhile, she repeatedly said she would frame me up thus making the public believe that I was the one who launched an attack on her. But, then, I possibly couldn’t decipher how possible it would be for me to attack her in her own office and in the presence of her colleagues comprising both men and women who already took her sides. The only person who could not support her although she was apparently scared of confronting her and others was the fair, slim lady who evidently had pity on me as I was soaked in my tears.

Moreso, the PRO after tagging journalists in Abia fake, roadside and jobless individuals who go about fomenting trouble in the State, she further threatened to report to the chairman of the council, Comrd. Victor Ndukwe about how I came to her ministry and was seeking information from other staff despite speaking with her earlier.

In summary, I was only permitted to leave as soon as they heard that some persons from government house were coming to rescue me. Then they asked me to leave immediately but I refused because I knew, if I had stood from there, I would slump because I was dehydrated and critically exhausted.

And while I made to leave, they all, (names withheld), alongside the man he introduced as a high ranking officer whose office is situated adjacent to the gate, pushed me from both sides as I got hits from them too which caused me a more severe palpitation.

I almost staggered out of the premises to the roadside with little or no strength in me as I needed urgent medical attention especially to seize the intense palpitations in my heart. Even as I speak, my head aches severely and I still wonder if I could contend with this pains.

By Famous Reporters

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