The Delta State government has called for the respect and protection of the press and journalists both in Delta State and beyond and cautioned against actions that tend to jeopardise and endanger the lives and activities of journalists in the course of performing their legitimate professional duties.
This disclosure was contained in a press statement signed by the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Barr. Chike Ogeah, who equally noted that the administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor of Delta State, has been in the fore front of fighting for the development of state, including the oil producing areas.
The statement, which is coming in the wake of the dramatic abduction of 14 journalists on November 16, 2014, on the waterways of the Escravos River, while on assignment in the Warri axis of Delta State, further urged any group or persons with any grievance to tread the path peace and dialogue in the quest to achieve an enduring platform for genuine reconciliation.
The statement titled: “LEAVE THE MEDIA ALONE”, reads thus: “On Sunday, November 16, 2014, about 14 journalists returning from legitimate duties were forcefully abducted in the Escravos area by armed men believed to be aligned to an ex-militant leader. We unreservedly condemn this action as it is not only mindless but cowardly and unwarranted.
“Journalists in Nigeria, especially those in Delta State, have consistently proved to be the beacon of peace, goodwill and reconciliation even in the face of increasing security challenges. By their professional disposition, media practitioners have consistently won the admiration and respect of all sections of the society.
“By resorting to actions designed to give the impression that the journalist were armed, the militants only showed ingratitude to the fourth estate of the realm which was a reliable ally in the turbulent days of agitation for more equitable resource allocation. What is expected of the militants is for them to tender unreserved apologies to the 14 journalists and the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ).
“The administration of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor of Delta State, has been in the fore front of fighting for the development of state, including the oil producing areas. He was the brain behind the amnesty initiative adopted by the Federal Government that eventually brought peace to the Niger Delta region.
“We urge any group or persons with any grievance to tread the path peace and dialogue as they remain the only enduring platform for genuine reconciliation. We also enjoin all stakeholders to cooperate with Governor Uduaghan as he assiduously seeks reconciliation and development in Delta State.
“As unbiased purveyors of information, the press requires respect and protection from all interest groups. That is why the thoughtless detention of the 14 journalists remains a condemnable act”, the statement concluded.