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Attack of journalists: NUJ tells Bayelsa Information Commissioner to stop

*Also the flogging of journalists

Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned alleged incessant harassment and attack of journalists by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Jonathan Obuebite.

The NUJ made the condemnation in a resolution adopted after its congress in Yenagoa, vowing that it had resolved to tackle the issue head-long.

In a communiqué issued after the Congress, the council described Obuebite’s attack on some reporters at the Samson Siasia Sport Complex in Yenagoa as another provocation too many.

In the communiqué, signed by John Angese and Stanley Imgbi, Chairman and Secretary of the council respectively, the body recalled that the latest attack took place at the just-concluded 2nd Governor Seriake Dickson National Wrestling Classics.

The council said Obuebite in his attack did not spare Alambo Datonye, the state’s Chairman of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), after the journalist interviewed Governor Seriake Dickson.

The commissioner was particularly angry that the reporter asked the governor when renovation of the football pitch in the stadium, which started since 2012, would be completed.

Bayelsa State-based football clubs like Bayelsa United FC and Bayelsa Queens FC currently play their home league matches in Delta State.

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”.

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