The Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Bayelsa State Council on March 23, 2017, condemned alleged incessant attacks on journalists by the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite.
The condemnation was contained in the Communique issued at the end of the Council’s Congress in Yenagoa, the State capital and signed by John Angese and Stanley Imgbi, Chairman and Secretary respectively of the Council.
Describing Obuebite’s attack on some reporters at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa as another provocation too many, the NUJ Council vowed to go out of the box to defend its members if drastic steps are not taken to tackle the issue.
The body recalled that the latest attack took place at the just-concluded second Gov. Seriake Dickson National Wrestling Classics at which event Obuebite allegedly attacked Alambo Datonye, the state’s chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria for daring to ask the governor when renovation of the football pitch in the stadium, which started in 2012 would be completed.
The NUJ warned Obuebite to stop intimidating journalists and gagging the media, advising him to allow newsmen to do their jobs as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
The Council also frowned at the flogging of some members of staff of Radio Bayelsa which involved the Chairman of the NUJ Chapel of the radio station, Tonye Yemoleigha, along with some of his colleagues by the general manager of the station, John Idumange.
It noted that Idumange’s action was a negation of the spirit of unionism adding that it has referred the matter to its ethics and disciplinary committee for necessary action.
The council warned that it “would no longer tolerate further attacks and harassment of its members by anybody, especially while discharging their obligations”.