BEVERLY HILLS, December 13, (THEWILL) – An operative of the Department of State Security (DSS) attached to the Akwa Ibom State Government House Uyo, on Tuesday, attacked five Journalists at the gate of the Government House.
The journalists are Iniobong Ekponta of Nigerian Tribune; Inemesit Akpansoh of the Guardian; Emeka Samuel of Nigerian Pilot and two others.
According to a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Comrade Iniobong Ekponta and Anthony Bassey, the Executive and other leaders of the Chapel were at the Government House to keep a scheduled appointment with Mr. Ekerete Udoh, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“When we inquired to know why we should not be allowed in, the overzealous officer threatened to open fire on the reporters if we refused to heed his instruction to reverse our car out of the Government House,” the statement read.
“The DSS man became more infuriated when he discovered we were Journalists, saying ‘I will shoot all of you right now if continue to stand here. Call anyone you want to call; I have worked with former governor Godswill Akpabio before in this State’.
“All entreaties by some policemen guarding the gate proved abortive, as the DSS official continue to harass the reporters, accusing them of ‘always coming to beg for money. You said you are press; is press somebody name? Don’t we know it is money you always come to beg here?’, he fumed and shoved the journalists away.”
Reacting to the incident, Udoh condemned the action, saying “just wait I will speak with him, only where I am now is far from the gate.”
Worried by the development, the Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Mr. Clfford Thomas, also condemned the action, describing it as a threat to the freedom of information.
“The CPS is the major source of information from the governor and the government. So it is very wrong for DSS official to act in a manner that is not consistent with the right and privileges the constitution accord Journalists in the course of doing their work,” he said.
“We condemn such action in a very strong terms and the DSS leader in Nigeria should call their men to order. Hounding of defenseless Journalists should be stopped forthwith.”