The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Eze Chikamnayo, gave the assurance on Thursday in Umuahia when the new leadership of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists paid him a visit.
Chikamnayo said the government would not “brutalise or molest’’ any journalist in the state and would not condone the infliction of such acts by any group or individual on journalists.
He recalled the recent experience in Lagos, where two journalists were reportedly brutalised on different occasions while discharging their legitimate duties.
He described the attacks as “condemnable and bestial,’’ warning that the society should show appreciation for the selfless service rendered by journalists rather than attack them.
“Journalists are the most selfless patriots in any society and their mandate is sacred rather than mercantile.
“They serve as the barometer through which the conscience of the society is measured,’’ Chikamnayo said.
“The least we expect from the society is appreciation and not molestation and brutalisation,’’ he said, adding that ‘’never again should we have such attacks on journalists’’.
He expressed happiness that the incident did not happen in Abia, promising that the government will continue to protect and safeguard journalists working in the state.
He appealed to journalists in the state to partner with the government by portraying Gov. Theodore Orji’s administration in good light and not to engage in destructive criticism.
“Journalism is a driving force behind the development of any society,’’ he said.
Chikamnayo said the society did not accord any special recognition to journalists who thrived in senseless criticism.
The commissioner expressed his “irrevocable and irreversible resolve’’ to partner with the correspondents’ chapel, saying that he would personally and officially assist the body to attain greater goals.
He urged the new leadership of the chapel to develop a work plan on how to move the group to greater height and to endeavour to carry all the members along in its programmes and actions.
Earlier, the Chairman of the chapel, Mr Emma Ugwu of Thisday Newspapers, congratulated the commissioner on his appointment, describing him as “a square peg in a square hole’’.
Ugwu argued that his choice could not be faulted “because you are a man of ideas’’ expected to leverage on his experience to excel, having held the same position during Orji Kalu’s administration.
He promised that the new leadership placed greater priority on the welfare and capacity building of the members of the chapel.
Mr Sam Oditah, a member of the chapel, called for “greater synergy‘’ between the chapel and the government for their mutual benefits. (NAN)