By Nuel Suji -The Rivers State Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), has accused the Rivers State Government declaring a total war on local journalists in Rivers State.
The APC in a press statement signed by its Spokesman, Senibo Chris Finebone, 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.
“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, maintaining that it further exposes the mortal fear of Gov. Nyesom 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.
According to the statement reads: “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. But for the PDP to take its misconception a notch further to cause his arrest just to intimidate him, suggests that its members are capable of dispatching the journalist to the great beyond [as is typical of the PDP] if their present intimidation fails because their ultimate motive is clearly to silence him.
“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 to worry about what was meted out to Kofi Bartels by Gov. 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 Gov. 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 wishes to urge 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.”