“Rochas’ Lamonde Hotels Staff Receive Salaries From Imo State Govt”—Yet Another Phantom Report

Ordinarily, the recent false publication on an online newspaper, 247 reports, alleging that Lamonde Hotel Staff receive salaries from Imo State Government, among other ruses, would have been treated with the levity that it deserves, but for the fact that a lie often repeated might well soon sound believable, even to the originator of the baseless tale.

Considering the gravity of the allegations and in order to put the records straight for posterity and for those who genuinely care to know the truth, we are inclined to respond as appropriate.

We are amazed that at this age and time, a news medium could publish such a damming story without making efforts to either seek the truth of the matter or at least, balance the report.

In today's digital environment, it is common knowledge that with the aid of Information Communication Technology, made easier by the Freedom of Information Act, it doesn't take rocket science to track any information from a Public office, not to talk of one as open as Imo State public service.

While we await legal counsel on how to extract necessary legal remedy from the online newspaper, we are inclined to register our disgust with the shameful attitude and ``pull them- down- syndrome'' of some news media. No doubt, this latest sponsored attack is recklessness taken too far.

For avoidance of doubt, Lamonde Hotel is a Corporate Organisation, having a life of its own and existed long before Chief Rochas Okorocha became the governor of the State.

The report that Staff of the Hotel receive salaries from the state government is not only false and baseless, but borne out of pure mischief. Long before now, Lamonde was one of the leading Hotels in Owerri, the Imo State Capital. Its progressive status is as a result of effective Management and has no business with the government of the day.

The claim that Governor Okorocha compelled the State Ministry of culture and tourism under the first Commissioner, Mr. Alex Ogwazuo to include the staff of Lamonde Hotels in the state government's payroll goes further to show the debt of ignorance of the writer. He also could not mention the name(s) of any Staff of the Hotel on the government payroll.

Mr. Alex Ogwazuo was removed last year as Commissioner and is currently the new chairman of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC). He is a responsible and fine gentleman. His removal from office as Commissioner had nothing to do with any scandal, but was in line with Governor Okorocha's routine Cabinet reshuffle for effective governance. His recent appointment as Chairman of ISOPADEC, less than a year after, is a show of the fact that he is responsible and has the capacity to transform the Commission.

The tale of scandal is born out of malice waxed in destructive swaggeo. It is strange that the mischief makers have left issues of state interest to begin to attack personal lives and character of public office holders. Even the law of the land respects the personal and private lives of individuals.

As to whether the Governor was a billionaire before assuming office, while I am not the governor's spokesman, it is worthy to note that even the blind could see that Chief Rochas Okorocha was a very wealthy man before he became Imo Governor.

We implore the Nigerian Mass Media practitioners to embrace the ethics of the noble profession of Journalism and operate within the precincts of accuracy, objectivity, fairness, patriotism and national development.

Walter Duru
Media Consultant