…As NGE Rejects Conditions
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) yesterday rejected the new guidelines for accreditation of media organisations and journalists for coverage of the 9th National Assembly.
The Guild in a statement by its General Secretary, Mrs Mary Atolagbe, described the move as an infringement on press freedom, saying it was “primitive, undemocratic and blatantly anti-press and anti-people.”
The guidelines issued by the authorities of the National Assaembly (NASS) is due to become effective from June 11.
“It demands among other draconian provisions that a media organisation wishing to be accredited for coverage of NASS activities should submit a copy of its income tax return for the last two years.
“Presentation of evidence of Certificate of Incorporation of the media organisation, evidence of membership of professional bodies for the journalists, maintenance of a functional Bureau in Abuja (staff strength not less than five editorial staff) and daily circulation of 40,000 copies for print media with evidence to support the claimed circulation figure,” it said.
The Guild, however, finds this vexatious, disrespectful and draconian. It is a scurrilous attempt to gag the press in a democracy and it cannot stand.
“These guidelines run contrary to the grains of reason, democratic ideals and they are a clear affront on the letter and spirit of the Nigerian constitution which empowers journalists to freely practise their profession without any gag, muzzling and restriction.
“The NASS guidelines negate the constitutional principle of freedom of expression and run contrary to the African Charter on Fundamental Rights and the right of the people to know.
“The Guild strongly objects to these guidelines in their entirety as they serve no public good except the myopic interest of its chroniclers and purveyors.
“The Guild is disappointed that the same 8th National Assembly which benefited immensely from free press in its moments of trial has turned around to put the same press in shackles and chains.
“We reject this crude abrasion of our constitutional rights to freely disseminate information. It cannot stand,” the Guild said.
It therefore, urged all media houses to reject the infringement on the nation’s media who fought for restoration of democracy in the nation.
Reps Summon Army, Defence Chiefs Over Benue ‘Assault’ By Troops
The House of Representatives has summoned Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, and Faruk Yahaya, Chief of Army Staff, over the alleged involvement of some soldiers in the assault of residents in Gboko, Benue LGA.
The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during the plenary session on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Mark Gbillah, the lawmaker representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency of Benue State.
Speaking on the motion, Gbillah alleged that on March 18, officers of the 401 Division invaded Old Barn Hotel, Gboko, in army trucks and “viciously assaulted and brutalised several persons and guests”.
He said the officers, about 20 in number, were dressed in military uniforms but “without any identifiers such as nametags, any form of personal identity or ranks”.
“The military men ordered all persons within view to move, gather in groups and squat on the ground without explaining such cruel and inhuman treatment,” he said.
Gbillah said Kpam Sokpo, a lawmaker representing Buruku Federal Constituency was also attacked by the soldiers.
“Despite introducing himself as a serving member of the House of Representatives, the soldier rather poured more invectives on the honourable and ordered his subordinates to slap him and in an attempt to defend himself from the unprovoked assault, about 20 soldiers pounced on him and others with guns and brutally assaulted them. This resulted in serious injuries on his head, face, shoulders, chest, back, both arms and legs.
“This same team of soldiers were allegedly responsible for the extra-judicial killings of at least two persons in Gboko in two separate instances on the same day”, he said.
The motion, which was not debated, was adopted when Idris Wase, the presiding officer, put it to a voice vote.
The army and defence chiefs are expected to explain to the lawmakers the circumstances behind the “unprovoked attack and why these military officers did not carry proper identification or inform the civilians about their mission.
“And to brief house about actions currently taken by military authorities to investigate the unprovoked assault on residents of Gboko, including honourable Kpam Jimin Sokpo and the shooting to death of two persons in Gboko on 18 March 2023.”
Kalabari Voted Massively For PDP In Appreciation Of Gov Wike’s Goodwill – Council Boss
The Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, has stated that the people of the Kalabari Ethnic Nationality voted massively for the Rivers State Governorship Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Sir Siminialayi Fubara, and all the National and State Assembly candidates of the party in the just concluded general elections, to show appreciation to Governor Nyesom Wike.
The Council Boss, who disclosed this during the commissioning ceremony of the first phase of the Trans-Kalabari Road, noted that the Kalabari people have benefited more from the Wike led administration than they had done from any other government since the creation of the State.
He said that though some persons from the Kalabari extraction threw their hats in the ring in the governorship election, the Kalabari people rather opted for Sim Fubara to demonstrate their appreciation to the governor for his magnanimity towards them.
The DELGA helmsman further stated that the Kalabari people were overjoyed with the actualisation of the first phase of the road project, adding that the crowd of people at the event came to say ‘thank you’ to the governor for linking six island communities, that were hitherto inaccessible by road, to the mainland.
Earlier in his address, the Amanyanabo and paramount ruler of Abonnema, King Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel, Ekineye Gbobo, Owukori IX, while thanking Gov. Wike for the milestone achievement, noted that the governor had lived up to the title of Se-Ibidokibo 1 of Kalabari (one who does good for the Kalabari people), bestowed on him during the grand civic reception, held in his honour by the people of the ethnic nationality.
The Monarch, who is also the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Benue State University, particularly thanked the governor for elevating several chieftaincy stools in Kalabari and recognition of incumbents, as well as executing several notable projects in Kalabari land and prayed God to give the governor the grace to continue to stand by and support the Kalabari people, even after he leaves office.
In his address, Rivers State Governor, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike thanked the Kalabari people for what he described as their “wonderful performance” during the just concluded governorship election.
“Let me use this opportunity to thank the people of Kalabari, making up the three LGAs for the wonderful performance you showed in the last election”’ he said.
Former Deputy Leader Hails Gov Wike Over Sir Fubara’s Emergence
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has received commendation over his examplary leadership qualities that led to the emergence of Sir. Siminialayi Fubara as Governor-Elect elect in the State.
Former Deputy Leader of Ikwerre Local Government Legislative Assembly, Hon. Amadi Jacob made the commendation while exchanging views with journalists on Wednesday at Elele in Ikwerre Local Government Area.
According to him, the victories of Sir Fubara, Allwell Onyesoh and Boniface Omerengwa in their respective positions was a clear testimony of good leadership by Gov. Wike.
“ I sincerely thank the electorates for coming out en masse to vote for all Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidates in the State, especially in Elele town.
“I use this forum to congratulate the Governor-elect, Sir Siminialayi Fubara , Chief Allwell Onyesoh and Boniface Omerengwa for their landslide victories at the polls.
“We have no doubt that they will perform creditably in their respective positions”, Jacob said.
The former Deputy Leader who is also one of the leaders in Ward 4 in the area expressed the confidence that Sir Fubara would consolidate the good works of Governor Wike following his track record as a civil servant.
“I also thank the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Council, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike for his role during the elections.
“Besides, the appointment of Chief Mike Elechi as member of the Rivers State Civil Service Commission is highly welcomed”, he stated.
By: Tonye Orabere
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