''It is becoming customary for governors to play God displaying visceral hatred for the media and the opposition in general. This is unfortunate for the emerging democracy in Nigeria, the strong tower of the black race. The other day, the Governor of Ebonyi State, David Nweze Umahi barred two journalists from the Government House for life and threatened to deal ruthlessly with them if they continued to write reports that create ‘panic’ among the people.
The two journalists are Chijioke Agwu, correspondent of The Sun in the state, who did a report on Lassa Fever outbreak in the state and Peter Okutu of Vanguard who did a report on the alleged military invasion of Umuogodoakpu-Ngbo community in Ohaukwu local government area. The governor’s action attracted widespread condemnations from various groups within and outside the state. He has reportedly rescinded his decision.
The act of Governor Umahi is needless because the function of the media is constitutionally guaranteed. Hence, it has become imperative to revisit the action of Governor Umahi and sensitise him about the role of the Press as enshrined in the Constitution. Sections 22 and 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, states that “the press, radio and television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to…uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.”
The act of Governor Umahi is needless because the function of the media is constitutionally guaranteed.