Saturday, May 28, 2016 8:23 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, has noted with disdain that the Rivers State Government, led by Gov. Nyesom Wike, has declared a total war on local journalists in Rivers State.
In a statement signed by Chris Finebone, Publicity Secretary and made available to Journalists alleged that not too long ago, the State Government manipulated the Nigeria Police to arrest and question the Punch Correspondent in the State, Mr. Chukwudi Akasike, over what the government claimed was biased reporting against the PDP and State Government.
According to APC, “he was reportedly accused by the government of favouring the APC in his reports, an allegation that flies in the face of logical reasoning and deep knowledge of how the media works.
“ It further exposes the mortal fear of Governor Wike and his government officials knowing full well that they stand on decrepit moral plank because theirs is a stolen mandate obtained through the blood of innocent people they climbed on to get power.
The party said “the most pathetic act of intimidation of journalists in Rivers State was demonstrated a few days ago when the State government inspired and sponsored a frivolous petition against an On Air Personality [OAP] with the Nigeria Info 92.3 FM station in Port Harcourt, Mr. Kofi Bartels.
“Again, the state government used its agents to petition the Department of State Security [DSS] making spurious accusations against the hardworking young man who is among the many bright young journalists breathing life into the electronic media practice in this part of the world.”
The APC recalls that nothing else demonstrates the impartiality of Kofi Bartels than the fact that both APC and PDP members accuse him of not being sympathetic to them. Indeed, he is not supposed to be sympathetic to anyone; he is supposed to simply do his job.
According to APC “For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that the APC in Rivers State views Kofi Bartels as a professional media practitioner who is not ready to pander to any political party or interest including that of the APC. As painful as that may appear, we believe that what he does is exactly within the tenets of his profession and we cannot help it.
“It is disheartening and condemnable that the Rivers State Government and the Governor would resort to such primitive intimidating style just to silence a poor journalist for being a stickler to the hallowed principles of his profession.
Another reason the party is worried about what was meted out to Kofi Bartels by Governor Nyesom Wike and his agents, is that it is capable of psychologically and emotionally destroying the young man in a way he may never recover for the rest of his life. This is indeed very unfair.
The APC notes that despite the concerted efforts of Governor Wike to buy up journalists and their media houses across Nigeria, there are still men of the pen profession who have risen beyond pecuniary cravings and above the governor’s buccaneering price philosophy that every living soul has a price, not because they are impervious to the battering by poverty but they are simply not ready to dump the tenets of their profession and rubbish their names.
The APC urged the Nigerian Union of Journalists [NUJ] and the Rivers State Correspondents Chapel to speak up, condemn and resist the assault on their members (an even non-members) especially this satanic and heinous agenda by the notorious Wike-led government in Rivers State.
It would also be recalled that the state NUJ, in a statement signed by it Assistant Secretary, Anayo Onukwugha, had give the state Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the State Police Command seven days ultimatum to tender unreserved apology to the union due to the way some journalists were manhandled by party thugs and overzealous cops during the PDP national convention held in Port Harcourt last Saturday, 21 May.