By Theodore Amu
The provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Dr. Josephine Anene-Okeakwa has been accused of using personnel of the Department of State Security (DSS) to harass and intimidate an investigative journalist.
The Journalist, Mr. Markson Ehvwubare who spoke to The Union Nigeria said he was harassed while honoring an invitation by the Provost to get clarification for an investigation bordering on allegations of “N59M over payment made to a Contractor by the Provost, fake certificates scandal of four staffs, poor execution of projects and lack of competent quantity surveyor and builders.”
He said, on arrival at the Provost’s office, two personnel who identified as officials of the DSS directed that I leave my phone and gadgets with the provost’s secretary before entering her officer.
According to him, “I arrived the office at about 12pm on Wednesday. I was taken aback. How do I conduct an interview without my gadgets, knowing fully well it was the only reason I came over to the college.”
“On entering her office, I met other administrative staff of the college seated. At that point she demanded that I tell them the source of my story.
“I told them it was unethical for me to do so. I said the question they should be asking is if my facts were right. I was interrogated for about 1hrs 30mins after which I stormed out.”
Markson said, “all these happened with the backing of the DSS officials who were coaxing me into talking. She, a Federal appointee invited me to her office in Asaba to clear herself of alleged fraud, rather she arranged with DSS to pick me, but they failed.
“Since when has Journalism become terrorism? They confiscated my phones for two hours. When has DSS officials become stooges to public office holders?” Markson asked.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time the Provost is accused of using security personnel for intimidation and harassment.
Recall, earlier in March, 2021 lecturers and students of Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Delta State, accused the institution’s Provost, Josephine Anene-Okeakwa of nepotism, corruption, highhandedness as well as using the Department of State Services (DSS) to intimidate staff members she sees as enemies, among other allegations.
I did not harass Him – Provost
Reacting to the allegations, the Provost, Dr. Josephine Anene-Okeakwe, told The Union Nigeria that there was no such thing as harassment of Mr Markson Ehvwubare.
“I don’t know what he means by harassing him. You can send somebody to my office. Because of him, I didn’t travel. Nobody enters my office with phone, it is my culture. Even my staffs don’t enter my office with phones.
“I gave him the honor of inviting him to my office. He eventually walked out on me. I am not his mate even if I am woman.”
The Department of State Security has maintained radio silence on the matter.
Efforts to reach the DSS Spokesman, Dr Nnochirionye Afunanya as of Press time were not successful.
Text messages and calls place on his phone where neither answered and nor responded to.