FOLLOWING today’s release of Mary Ekere, a female journalist detained for two nights in Akwa Ibom, Cletus Ukpong, Regional Editor, South-South for the Premium Times, who broke the story of the reporter’s arrest, has been threatened with the same kind of treatment.
The threat was made by Cristo Ekpoh, a strong loyalist of Udom Emmanuel Gabriel, the Akwa Ibom State Governor.
Ukpong had earlier written on the illegal arrest and detention of Ekere and shared the report on his timeline. But Ekpoh went on Premium Times Facebook timeline condemning the report. He tagged Ukpong in his reaction with claims that it was misleading.
“Misleading headline by Cletus Ukpong to tarnish the image of the governor. It should have been you that was thrown into prison,” Ekpoh stated.
When The ICIR called Ukpong on the tweet threat, he said that Ekpoh has been threatening him since he did a report on the poor condition public schools and travails of the school teachers in Akwa Ibom State.
The journalist added that Ekpoh also threatened to deal with him and members of his family, promising that he would be attacked anywhere he is found.
Ukpong in 2018 did a six part report which exposed the rot of public schools in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking on the threat to its reporter, Premium Times Editor – in – Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, said that the newspaper would not be intimidated by threats to any of its reporters, adding “whoever does anything unlawful to our reporter will be brought to book, if not by the Nigerian government by authorities in other places.”
Meanwhile, Ekere who was assigned to cover the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly for the Post, a local newspaper in the state, was arrested and detained for taking pictures of a task force set up by the state government to work with the state Environmental and Waste Management Agency.
Reports say she was remanded in Uyo prison after being held up in police detention.
Following the incident, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), in a letter signed by Inimfon Silas, State Chairman of the NUJ Chapter and Anthony Udoh, his Secretary on Monday threatened to institute legal action and demanded her release.
Earlier today, the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) also condemned actions of the state officials for the arrest, stripped the journalist naked, and eventually made her pass two nights in detention while embarking on a journalistic duty.
“We will work with our parent body (NUJ) to ensure that we follow up with legal actions to stop any further harassment and intimidation of our members by any government or private agency. Enough is Enough,” the statement jointly signed by Uduak Ekong, NAWOJ State Chairperson and Esther Effiong, the Secretary read.