By Osa Okhomina
The former chairman of the Federated Correspondents’ Chapel in Bayelsa State, Mr. Samuel Ese has dismissed as “spurious” the report by Journalists Without Borders that the state is among the worst for journalists to operate in Nigeria.
Mr. Ese said the report is an obvious attempt to run down the government of Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson who is working hard to make the state a safe haven for investors and investments.
He explained that while the state was noted for piracy, pipeline vandalism and violent crimes in the past, the determined efforts of the government in collaboration with security agencies has brought calm, normalcy and peace to the state.
Mr. Ese who has worked as journalist in the state for nearly two decades disclosed that in all the years he has been in the state, there was no instance where a journalist was deterred from carrying out his duties by agents of the state.
“I find it difficult to believe that Journalists Without Borders would come out with such a report which to me is contrary to the facts on ground. I have been here for nearly 20 years and this is so unbelievable,” he stated.
Continuing, he said: “Apart from the late Radio Bayelsa editor, Famous Giobaro who was assassinated by hoodlums, no journalist in the state has suffered any kind of attack as a result of carrying out his constitutional role.”
“Journalists operating in the state have cordial relationship with the government and the governor has from time to time treated them to dinners and media chat where he usually shared jokes and anecdotes with them.”
“Government has been very supportive of the activities of the Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists including the annual Press Week and the government specially designed the monthly transparency briefing as another media event where journalists get to hear details of the finances of the state.”
“Even the security agencies have deep respect for journalists through whom they tell the larger public their achievements in trying to combat crime and criminality in the state.”
“I believe that Journalists Without Borders can do a better assessment of the life of journalists in Bayelsa State because I know a lot about the relationship between journalists and government in this state.”
Mr. Ese urged the public to dis countenance the report as it failed in integrity, fairness and objectivity as well as lacking in truth which makes it the work of mischief makers.