Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has set up a N3 million for the three children of the late Vice Chairman of the Ebonyi State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Samuel Nweke.
The Governor announced this on Monday when he paid a condolence visit to the slain journalist’s residence in Abakaliki, the state capital.
Umahi, who was visibly saddened by the ugly event of last Saturday, which led to the death of Nweke, also undertook to appoint the wife as one of his Technical Assistants to enable her sustain the family after the burial of her husband.
The Governor further made a donation of N1 million to the wife to start up any business of her choice for the continued upkeep of the family.
He directed the State Commissioner for Works and Transport, Engr. Fidelis Nweze, to take over, on behalf of Government, the payment of their residential rent immediately as well as make plans to procure a Toyota Sienna Car for the use of the family.
He further directed the Secretary to the State Government to immediately articulate for payment the total gratuity benefit of the late journalist’s retired father, while he also made a donation of N500,000 each to his two aged parents.
Umahi described the death of the journalist as a State tragedy and prayed God to grant the State, the NUJ and the immediate family of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss.
Governor Umahi said: “After the husband’s burial, we will appoint the wife as a Technical Assistant to take care of the children.
“We will find her N1 million to start business with.
“We will give N500,000 to the father and N500,000 to the mother.
“And we will use N3 million to set up education foundation for the three children to make sure that they continue with their education.”
Umahi, who seized the opportunity to task journalists on the gain of diligence and uprightness in service, noted that the late Nweke carved a niche for himself as an innovative and development journalist and reporter per excellence.
He said the State would take over the cost of the burial of the deceased journalist as soon as the family concludes arrangements and furthermore directed the Ministry of Works to note the request for the construction of the road leading to the journalist’s village compound enroute Onueke in Ezza South Local Government Area of the State.
The Governor commended the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Senator Emmanuel Onwe, for shutting down the State Radio and Television stations for 24 hours as a mark of honour to the departed journalist, who was a staff of the Ebonyi State Broadcasting Corporation.
The deceased’s father while thanking the Governor for the gesture, described the untimely death of his son as heart breaking.
He lamented that his late son had remained the bread winner of the family since he retired from service in 2011 and regretted that he had only received 20 per cent of his total gratuity since then.
He appealed to the Governor to help facilitate the payment of his full gratuity as well as give attention to the road leading to his village compound to facilitate easy access for sympathizers during the burial.
Earlier, the Governor had visited the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki where injured journalists, including the State correspondent of Vanguard Newspaper, Peter Okutu, and the State Secretary of NUJ, Tony Nwizi, were receiving treatment.
Apart from undertaking to write off their medical bills, Umahi made cash donations for their upkeep in the hospital.
Umahi, who inspected the newly-installed dialysis machine donated to the hospital by the State Government, also made a donation of N10 million to write off the bills of patients undergoing dialysis in the unit.
He prayed for the quick recovery of the injured journalists, adding the the Government would continue to ensure their welfare and those of their families.
Recall that the journalists were attacked by hoodlums on Saturday night along the Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway while returning from the NUJ Triennial Delegates Conference held last week in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.