The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) received with monumental shock the alleged threat to the state correspondent of the Daily Independent newspapers in Enugu state, Mr. Emma Nzominwu, by the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Eugene Odo, for publishing what is he described as false reports against him (the speaker).
CLO has taken notice of attacks, threats and intimidation on newsmen who go about doing their legitimate duties by politicians and other wealthy and powerful members of the society. We are much worried in this case because a law maker and lawyer who ought to rely on the instrumentality of the law is involved.
We detest the use of threats and intimidation to settle civil matters, especially by custodians of state power.
People who rely on this kind of approach to settle scores in a civil rule reminds us of the dare-devil dark days of military rule. CLO urges politicians and other members of the society to employ the instruments of law to resolve crisis or misunderstanding rather the use of unlawful and foul processes that threaten lives and peace of the society.
While we do not encourage the publication of false or unverified reports against any person or institution, CLO, as the foremost Pan-Nigerian human rights organisation shall not support but condemn the threat on journalists and use of unlawful means to settle disputes.
As a major human rights organisation in Nigeria, we feel that time has come when both journalists and human rights community must rise to the challenges of threats to life and future of both human rights defenders and journalists in Nigeria. We warn that nobody or group has monopoly of use of violence and caution politicians, over-zealous security agents and other sources of intimidation of news men and human rights defenders in Nigeria to follow due process of law in addressing civil issues and grievances.
Comrade, Ibuchukwu Ohabuenyi Ezike,