The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has condemned what they called “ blatant intimidation, harassment and attacks on journalists and media houses by Umahi and the illegal banning of the correspondents of The Sun newspaper, Chijioke Agwu, and the Vanguard Newspaper, Peter Okutu, from entering Government House as well as government facilities in Ebonyi state for life.”
SERAP in a statement by their Deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “This action is a blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression and media freedom as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) “.
Kolawole noted that it is also against the country’s international obligations including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.
He announced that SERAP will pursue appropriate legal action nationally and internationally against Ebonyi State authorities if this illegality is not reversed within 48 hours of the publication of this statement.
Here is the statement: “We urge Umahi to show a greater level of transparency and accountability by immediately reversing the purported ban, and allowing journalists and media houses to freely cover the activities of his government. Nigerians expect their leaders to show a greater level of transparency and accountability and to explain and take responsibility for what they are doing rather than threatening, intimidating, harassing and banning journalists and media houses from covering their public functions.”