The Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged Gov.Dave Umahi of Ebonyi to ensure that lives and property of journalists operating in the state were guaranteed.
The chapel made the demand in a press statement on Sunday in Abakaliki signed by Mr Sampson Nwafor, its state secretary.
The chapel in a press statement titled; “RE: SECURITY Of JOURNALISTS IN EBONYI” urged the governor to ensure that security of lives and property of journalists in the state were guaranteed.
It also appealed to the governor and state government to protect journalists from all forms of attacks and molestations in the discharge of their statutory responsibility.
The group commended the governor for lifting the purported ‘life ban’ on the Vanguard and Sun reporters in Ebonyi.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Correspondents’ Chapel NUJ, Ebonyi has been drawn to a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Mr Uchenna Orji, on April 25.
“The commissioner in the statement announced that Gov. Umahi, has lifted the purported ‘life ban’ on two of our members, Mr Chijioke Agwu of The SUN Newspaper and Mr Peter Okutu of Vanguard Newspaper.”
The chapel was pleased with the development and wished to make the followong observations: “That we commend the governor of Ebonyi, Chief Dave Umahi for lifting the ‘life ban’ placed on two of our members from entering Government House and other Government facilities.
“That we have noted the assurances of his administration to allow Journalists to carry-out their constitutional duties unhindered as enshrined in section 22 of the 1999 constitution, (as amended).
“We noted with pride and happiness that the governor has charged his media managers to now follow “all due process” in seeking redress through the leadership of NUJ and the Management of media houses, should there be any misgiving on the part of government arising from any publication.
“However, the chapel wishes to remind His Excellency that the statement released by his Commissioner for Information was conspicuously silent on the issue of security of journalists in the state.
“Your Excellency may wish to recall that on Wednesday, April 22 during a live broadcast made a declaration that you could no longer guarantee the security of Journalists in the state.
Gov. Dave Umahi
” Your Excellency in the broadcast said; ‘If you think you have the pen, we have the koboko. Let’s leave the court alone. Ebonyi people are very angry with the press and let me warn that I won’t be able to control them or know when they unleash mayhem on you’ if you continue to write to create panic in the state.
“While we pledge commitment to partner the government and the people to ensure a better Ebonyi, we wish to state that we are in deep fear because of the above statement, considering your Excellency’s position as the Chief Security Officer of the state.”
The chapel further stated its resolve to ensure that Orji retracted an alleged damaging statement wherein he alleged that Mr Jacob Ogodo, its chairman eulogised the governor for arresting and banning two of its members for life.
“In the same vein, we wish to remind the Commissioner for Information and State Orientation in the State, MrUchenna Orji, that he is yet to retract the damaging statement he made, published and caused to be aired in Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC).
“Sir, you wish to note that the 48 hours altimatum given to you will expire today,” the statement added.