Imo State Governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, yesterday carried out his threat against journalists operating in the state, banning the Correspondents of THISDAY and Vanguard Newspapers, Amby Uneze and Chidi Nkwopara, from covering government house activities.
The governor did not give any reason for his action other than that the said correspondents do not like him. Declaring the correspondents as enemies of government for not writing favourable reports to suit his bidding, last Saturday night in a chart with journalists in the state at the government house, Okorocha failed to point out any of the ethics of the journalism profession which the correspondents breached. He vowed to deal ruthlessly with the reporters if they dare to show face inside government house to cover any of his activities, insisting that he would take it up with their respective headquarters to ensure they are posted out of the state.
Clampping down on journalists and media houses in the state has been the stock-in-trade of the governor in recent times, as most of the state-based newspaper houses have been having a running battle with him because they demanded from the governor to publicly account for the revenue and expenditure of the state since 2011 when he was sworn in. This action had led to a petition to the Inspector General of Police by the Independent Newspapers Publishers Association (INPA) in the state where they sought his investigation on the threat to their lives and property.
They also demanded that the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the National Press Council (NPC), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the Amnesty International (AI) should call the governor to order and respect the rights of journalists and freedom of the press in a democratic dispensation.