By Lancelot Obiaku
The younger brother to the Imo State Governor and supervisor of the ongoing reconstruction of the Assumpta–Hospital Junction Road, Owerri, Mr. Uchenna Uzodimma, has denied the report on social media that he allegedly ordered the assault of one Nwadike Precious U .
Nwadike, who is the publisher of Nigeria Watchdog Newspapers, Owerri, was quoted in a publication on the social media on Wednesday by one Collins Opurozor that Mr. Uzodimma ordered thugs to beat up Mr. Nwadike to unconsciousness following an altercation he had with people he alleged were thugs working for Mr. Uzodimma at the road construction site along Port-Harcourt Road, Owerri.
Opuruozor in the publication alleged that Mr. Nwadike was assaulted on Tuesday February 9, 2021, because his newspaper has been critical of the state government.
Speaking with The Statesman on Wednesday in his office, Mr. Uzodimma expressed shock at the report.
He described the allegation by Nwadike as false, unbelievable and unimaginable.
He said: “I was shocked to the marrow when I received the first of so many calls from people who notified me of a publication on the social media in which the author alleged that I ordered the assault of Mr. Nwadike. The truth is that I don’t even know him. I had not seen him before nor heard anything about him. He doesn’t also know me.
“What happened was that I was discussing with the contractor in charge of the road, Nnadozie Uwajumogu, while asphalt was being laid on the road just near the OCDA office. The labourers on the site were diverting motorists to alternative routes and preventing them from riding on the newly laid asphalt.
“Every vehicle that attempted to trespass the area was waved down by the labourers and were instructed to go back and take the alternative routes. The motorists complied, reversed and used alternative routes.
“Suddenly, one young man with a lady in the front seat of his car drove beyond the caution tape and cut it. His tyres were actually on the newly led asphalt, thus destroying it. It was then that I said, young man, go back please. He reversed and I continued chatting with the contractor.
“He parked at the other side of the road and the next thing I heard was the lady in his car saying ‘why would you allow these labourers call your car rickety?’ He came back to where I was discussing with Nnadozie and told us that he could accept insults from the labourers but not accept that I stood there as the contractor and watched my labourers call his vehicle rickety.
“I told him, young man, could you continue with your journey? It was during this exchange that I found out that he was going to OCDA. I told him he could have simply parked his vehicle beside the road and walked across into the OCDA, which is just a foot from where the asphalting was going on. Moments later he walked into the OCDA.
“I didn’t see any altercation beyond this mild exchange. Nobody touched him. Along the line of the exchange of words between him and the labourers, the boys working at the OCDA even came out and tried to know what the problem was. It appeared that the guys from OCDA disagreed with him for flouting a simple directive. They told him that even the General Manager of OCDA got to that point of the road and on seeing the work going on turned back and used an alternative route to get into his office.
“I was surprised this morning to get calls from people who said that I beat up someone mercilessly and that he is hospitalized with bandages all over his body. I was shocked because before I left the site, the young man had gone his way and nobody raised a hand on him.”
Mr. Uzodimma asked people to disregard any report to the contrary circulating on the social media as there was no truth in it.
Accusing Nwadike of clout chasing and blackmail, Mr. Uzodimma condemned the habit of painting the image of the government and its functionaries black without basis.
He said the state government was too busy with governance to go after those who hold opinions against it, stressing that the government is media friendly and appreciates the role of the media as the Fourth Estate of the Realm.
He added that Watchdog Newspaper is not the only newspaper in the state that is critical of the government, noting that Nwadike was merely crying wolf and playing on people’s emotions.
The Statesman also spoke with some staff of the OCDA who said that Mr. Nwadike left the OCDA office unhurt, adding that he had told them that he wanted to travel to Lagos State on Wednesday, and that for that reason he wanted to register for the National Identification Number (NIN).
They wondered from where the bandages all over him came.
They advised Mr. Nwadike to have a change of heart and stop being a blackmailer, noting that nothing good comes from such life.
Source: The STATESMAN