Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

Ovedhe Hezekiah – Ughelli

The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Delta state, has condemned assault on her chairman, Michael Ikeogwu and Daily Post reporter, Matthew Omonigho, by Delta state task force on environmental sanitation.

The council, in a statement by her Assistant Secretary, Celestine Afokoba, said Ikeogwu led a team of journalists to monitor compliance with the stay-at-home directive ordered by the state government.

The Union described the attack on her members as barbaric, wicked, primitive and ludicrous.

READ : Soldier enforcing lockdown in Delta shot dead a father of two

It says the decision of the task force led by one Kingsley Iweka to come out under the guise of carrying out environmental sanitation duties when they were supposed to comply with the social distancing rule was a great disservice to the state government’s efforts to curtail the spread of the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic to the state.

“It is expedient to note that in the directive issued by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, environmental sanitation officials were not among those listed to carry out their duties during the stay-at-home period.”

“It is therefore very appalling and totally unacceptable to see members of the task force numbering over 20 unleashing hostility on Ikeogwu and Omonigho because they sought to know why people were being gathered to carry out environmental sanitation when they were expected to comply with the social distancing rule and stay-at-home order.”

READ ALSO : Plateau state orders closure of inter -state roads

The statement further added that rather than the task force to retrace its step and render unreserved apology to NUJ Chairman and members of the pen profession for the uncivilized behaviour, it resorted to blackmail Comrade Ikeogwu with spurious and fabricated story in the social media.

“We call for the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the team of the task force that attacked the number one journalist in Delta state and another of her colleague to forestall future attacks on media workers on legitimate duties.”

TRENDING STORY : Traders groan under corrupt, exploitive revenue regime at Nung Udoe, Akwa Ibom market

“We call on the Governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, to caution some of his media aides who had also gone to the social media to comment on issues they were not knowledgeable about with special reference to Fred Latimore who didn’t bother to call the NUJ Chairman but went ahead to put up a weak defence for the rampaging environmental task force.”

“We wish to state unequivocally, that the NUJ Delta state council will not succumb to any form of intimidation in discharging it’s constitutional responsibility, as we call on our members to be law abiding and also observe the social distancing order while monitoring the exercise.”

The council however, assured that some unruly government officials will not distort the mutual relationship between the Union and the state government.