By ANDREW OJIEZEL
Angered harassment and intimidation by politicians and some law enforcement agents is reaching alarming stage, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, has condemned alleged incessant harassment of journalists by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Jonathan Obuebite.
Rising from its congress, NUJ who condemned the intimidation of journalists, vowed that unless drastic step is taken to tackle the issue, it would be forced to go out of the box to defend its members.
In a statement today, Thursday, the council described Obuebite’s attack on some reporters at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa as another provocation too many.
The statement by Comrade John Angese and Comrade Stanley Imgbi, Chairman and Secretary of the council, respectively, the body recalled that the latest attack took place at the just-concluded 2nd Gov. Seriake Dickson National Wrestling Classics.
The council said that Obuebite in his attack did not spare Alambo Datonye, the state’s chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria after the journalist interviewed the governor.
The commissioner was particularly angry that the reporter asked the governor when the renovation of the football pitch in the stadium, which started since 2012 would be completed.
Bayelsa-based football clubs like Bayelsa United FC and Bayelsa Queens FC currently play their home league matches in Delta.
The NUJ warned Obuebite to stop intimidating journalists and gagging the media, advising him to allow newsmen to do their jobs as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
The council also frowned at the recent flogging of some members of staff of Radio Bayelsa.
The flogging incident involved the Chairman of the NUJ Chapel of the radio station, Tonye Yemoleigha, who was assaulted alongside some of his colleagues by the general manager of the station, John Idumange.
While noting that Idumange’s action was a negation of the spirit of unionism, the NUJ referred the matter to its ethics and disciplinary committee for necessary action.
The council, however, warned that it “would no longer tolerate further attacks and harassment of its members by anybody, especially while discharging their obligations”.
Obuebite declined to comment on the development when news correspondent contacted him for comments.