Okowa 1st Year Press Briefing: Journalists kicks over poor treatment …Decries Commissioner’s move to gag the press, by barring some journalists …As commissioner pockets N200k TP for journalists

A cross section of journalists in Delta State have decried an alleged futile attempt by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah to gag the press after he countered a directive from the State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa by inviting selected journalists under his stooge for the governor’s first year anniversary press briefing.Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor, Delta State, during his first year in office press briefing at Asaba

Giving details of the gag move by the overzealous commissioner, a media aide to the governor disclosed that, a night to the briefing, some journalists in the state who felt shortchanged after they weren’t invited for the briefing, bombarded the governor with text messages on the consequences of barring majority of journalists from attending the briefing.

According to the source who spoke on anonymity, when all efforts by the leadership of the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ to make Mr. Ukah see reasons why he should not restrict those to be invited to only 100 journalists failed, some stakeholders took it upon themselves to bring it before governor’s attention.

He equally added that the Commissioner for Information, a graduate of Health and Physical Education, from the Obafemi Awolowo University, had earlier on the same day, walked out a state executive member of the NUJ that had gone to him to appeal on him on why he should allow more journalists to participate in the briefing.

Our source stated further that, embarrassed by the barraged of text messages from journalists warning the governor of a possible show down with journalists in the state, Okowa directed that the briefing be thrown open.

ADVOCATE investigations revealed that the signs that Ukah would want to gag the press manifested during Governor Okowa’s first media briefing, where against the conventional practice, the commissioner and the governor’s media team invited only 47 journalists across the state, a situation that pitched the leadership of Delta State Council of NUJ against other journalists.

Many Journalists frown at the inability of NUJ leadership to resist the move by the commissioner to usurp the function of the NUJ state council which has the sole right to determine who is a practicing journalist and those to be invited to the State governor’s media briefing, urging NUJ to reverse the trend or in the alternative boycott the governor’s briefing.

They also accused the state chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Norbert Chiazor of playing an Anioma card, by not openly condemning the manner journalists in the state have been treated with derision since Okowa, his Anioma kinsman assumed office as the governor.

According to one of the state exco member who spoke to ADVOCATE, but pleaded for anonymity, he frown at the weak disposition of Chiazor to the ill treatment meted out to media men in the state noting that journalists in the state have never had it this bad before.

 

According to him, “do you know that the Commissioner in connivance with the Director State Ministry of Information, one Mr. Osahon pocketed the N200, 000.00 approved as transportation fare for journalists covering the governor’s commissioning of projects to mark his one year in office?”

He added that, in their usual manners, “the commissioner and the director have being keeping this money to themselves, in all the places the governor have gone out to commission projects, and in some cases manages to give out peanuts as against what was approved by government.”

He therefore, called on Journalists and the leadership of NUJ in the state to shun all future activities of the state government until the governor calls the Commissioner for Information and his media team to order.

 

Share this news

Subscribe to the Advocate News letter and receive news updates daily in your inbox.

Check Also

Nigerian Army Dismisses Four Soldiers Over Murder of NSCDC Officer in Niger State

The Niger State Police Command has paraded four dismissed soldiers arrested for the murder of …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *