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Defend poor Nigerians, Wike urges media

Defend poor Nigerians, Wike urges media

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Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has called on the Nigerian media to wake up and defend Nigerians, who are suffering untold hardship under the APC Federal Government.

Describing the APC-led Federal Government as a failure, Wike said that the Nigerian media had lost its voice since May 2015.

 The governor made this call during a courtesy visit by the  Management of the International Press Institute at the  Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday.

He said, “The Nigerian press should wake up. The Nigerian press presently speaks for the rich. It no longer speaks for the poor. The focus now is advertorial, instead of defending the people.

“The press in Nigeria has been gagged. The press that was at the forefront of ‘Jonathan Must Go’ can no longer speak up against bad governance, electoral manipulation, electoral fraud and total collapse of national security. What has happened to the conscience of the Nigerian media?”

Wike said that the same media that joined some prominent Nigerians to fight the partial removal of petroleum subsidy under former President Goodluck Jonathan, had maintained “a deafening silence” under President Muhammadu Buhari when the entire fuel subsidy was removed in controversial circumstances.

The governor said that despite the controversies and inconsistencies that had trailed the alleged total removal of fuel subsidy, there had been no call in the media to occupy Nigeria.

He said that the APC-led Federal Government was poised to use illegal means to manipulate the electoral process, hence the fight over election sequence in the amended Electoral Act.

Wike said that in Rivers State, the police high command rewarded Mr Akin Fakorede, who was indicted by the INEC Committee on Rivers Rerun, for massive electoral fraud.

He said, “It is good that the International Press Institute was coming to Nigeria to see the injustice and illegality that characterise the present administration.

“There is no image for Nigeria to launder. We need the world to know what is happening in the country. The world through the IPI will know the nature of the war against corruption where the Federal Government convicts opponents, who are still before the courts.

“The world through the IPI will also know how if you don’t want to be a corrupt man, enter the ruling party. It is good for IPI to come to Nigeria to see the atrocities that the Federal Government is committing.”

The governor, however, stated that press freedom can only be achieved in a democracy where the rule of law was respected.

In his remarks earlier, the Leader of the International Press Institute Media and Publicity Committee, Dr. Tonnie Iredia, said that the committee was in the state to create awareness on the 2018 World Congress to be hosted in Nigeria.

He said the event offers Nigeria the opportunity to launder her image as well as give international journalists the opportunity to appreciate development efforts in the country.

Iredia described Rivers State as one the functional states where the people were enjoying the dividends of democracy.

He expressed the need for the media to highlight Rivers for other states to emulate.

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