…Stop this impunity against journalists, NUJ tells Umahi …NGE to Umahi: Stop harassment of journalists now …As SERAP gives Umahi 48 hours to reverse action By Innocent Anaba & Peter Okutu Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, yesterday, barred the correspondents of Vanguard and The Sun newspapers, Peter Okutu and Chijioke Agwu, respectively from entering Government House and government facilities in the state for life. This came as Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, expressed deep concern over the persistent harassment of journalists in Ebonyi State on the orders of the state power brokers, including the Governor of the state, Mr. Dave Umahi.
Also, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has condemned “the blatant intimidation, harassment and attacks on journalists and media houses by Governor Umahi and the illegal banning of the correspondents of The Sun Newspapers, Chijioke Agwu, and Vanguard Newspapers, Peter Okutu, from entering Government House and government facilities in the state for life.” Umahi, who made the statement in a statewide live broadcast aired in the state’s television and radio stations, said he was displeased with the leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, for failing to discipline their members. Umahi had last Saturday ordered the arrest of The Sun Correspondent, Chijioke Agwu, over a report he did on lassa fever outbreak in the state . He was later released. Three days later, Mr. Peter Okutu was arrested on the orders of Ohaukwu Local Government Area Chairman, Mr. Clement Odah, over a report he did on the alleged military invasion of Umuogodoakpu-Ngbo community in the council area. He has also been released. Umahi, who said the safety of journalists in the state could no longer be guaranteed by him, noted that the people were angry with the journalists and might begin to unleash mayhem on them if they continue to cause panic in the state. According to him, “I want to say that I am very displeased with the president and leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and I am going to seize their allowances for two months, because they have failed to discipline their members.