Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has demanded an unreserved apology from the management of Punch Newspapers for reporting that he physically assaulted the protocol officer to his Anambra State counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi.
Okorocha who denied assaulting the said protocol officer also demanded that the newspaper retracts the offending story within one week or risk a legal action.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Ebere Uzoukwa, the governor regretted that Punch would go to town with such a false story against him.
He wondered why it was only the Punch that reported such a story when there were reporters of other newspapers at the occasion.
The newspaper had reported that Okorocha fought a protocol officer attached to Gov. Obi for restraining him from sitting on a seat reserved for the Anambra State governor at the 80th birthday anniversary celebration of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme held at Okpara Square in Enugu.
Uzoukwa who said he witnessed the incident insisted that his boss never fought the protocol officer or anybody at the venue but admitted that the said protocol officer exhibited an unruly behaviour by sitting tight on a seat that could contain two governors.
He however said the incident was later amicably resolved leading to the protocol officer vacating the seat for Okorocha to occupy.
Part of his statement reads: ‘Unfortunately, an apparently overzealous aide of Gov. Peter Obi occupied a space large enough to accommodate the two governors. This led to an argument between aides of both governors. While Gov. Okorocha’ protocol team and security detail were trying to secure a seat for him after he had felicitations with dignitaries, Gov. Obi’s protocol officer exhibited unruly behaviour as he sat tight next to Ebonyi Deputy Governor in a desperate bid to secure that particular seat for his boss who was yet to arrive the venue while Gov. Okorocha who was still standing. At last, the issue was resolved amicably and the young man vacated the seat without quarrel. In fact, Gov. Okorocha and his Anambra counterpart sat comfortably on the same seat and chatted freely as brothers while the event lasted. The issue of Gov. Okorocha raising his hand or punching the young man as portrayed in the said story could be traced to the imagination of the writer. The governor civilized enough will not to engage such trivial act.
Therefore, may I state emphatically as the Governor’s media aide and a witness that at no point did Gov. Okorocha raised his hand on the young man nor any other person involved. He even opted to sit at the back before Enugu Deputy Governor who represented his boss pleaded for him to take his rightful position as a Governor.
We therefore demand an immediate retraction of the said malicious story and apology from Punch newspapers as His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha will not hesitate to institute a legal action on the matter after a period of one week.
Credit to www.nigerianewspoint.com