An information commissioner is presently in trouble with journalists covering the government house over an alleged N9.5 million unpaid adverts money.
It was reliably gathered that, when he resumed work in the state’s information ministry, the said commissioner constituted a private committee made up of 10 journalists.
The secret committee’s terms of reference, sources said, though primarily to help sell the policies of the State’s government, he covertly asked the committee to ensure that stories around his own ministry make the headlines at all times, and above every other ministry in the State.
Sources said that while the commissioner offered to pay a paltry N15,000 weekly to each of the journalists ‘to enhance their productivity’, majority of them reportedly objected to the monetary benefit but would rather the commissioner give adverts to their mediums that would cover the period of the deal.
Upon the agreement, the total worth of adverts for all the 10 committee members was said to be N9.5 million. And the committee swung into action immediately after the agreement, according to sources.
When it was time to pay for the 10 adverts, during the South-South Governor’s first anniversary in office, the commissioner, simply known as Patrick, a former Hockey player and alleged top member of the deadly ‘Black Axe’ cult, reportedly called the bluff of the committee, saying that the governor approved payments for only three ‘recognized’ mediums while he claimed he never approved of the adverts in seven other mediums in the first place.
As at press time, sources said that the affected journalists had vowed to take the matter further.