A brawl broke out on Saturday, 21 July 2012 when journalists involved in a scuffle for N5m given to the state branch of NUJ to share to its members who were present during a press conference organized by the state government.
The Akwa Ibom State Government had organized the press parley to clear the air on the brewing issue of the 76 oil wells awarded to Akwa Ibom at the expense of
by the Supreme Court. Over 300 journalists (and non-journalists alike) thronged
the new banquet hall, venue for the event. Some were there since morning, but
the press conference started at about 9pm. Cross
The first disappointment of the night for the journalists was the inability of Gov. Godswill Akpabio to make it to the event, leaving the floor for the Umanah Okon Umanah (SSG), Barr. Ekpenyong Ntekim (Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice), and Aniekan Umanah (Commissioner for Information) to take charge of addressing members of the fourth estate of the realm.
After addressing the press and taking questions from them, N5m (five million naira) was announced to be given as transport to the journalists. After the departure of the government officials, the NUJ chairman, Joe Effiong was involved in a heated argument with chairmen of the various chapels over how the money should be shared.
Mr. Effiong who is a correspondent with The Sun decided to take a whooping sum of N1.8m for himself and 6 other members of his exco. This caused a serious disagreement and turned the hall into a rowdy place. Two hours later, the commissioner for Information, Mr. Umanah had to rush back to settle the issue.
At the end of the day, 60% of the journalists went home with less than N2,000 (two thousand naira) out of N5m which a lot of them considered to be cheat and short-change of the highest order. The money sharing lasted till the wee hours of Sunday, and the security in-charge of the banquet hall had to chase them out of the auditorium. Below are some pictures from the brawl.