The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Akwa Ibom State chapter has suspended one of her members, Mr Gideon Ekere for unethical conduct.
The decision to suspend Mr Ekere, who is the publisher of the State based Global Post Newspaper was taken at the emergency meeting of the State Executive Council of the Akwa Ibom State Council on Thursday, August 24, 2017, following exhaustive deliberations on a letter conveying a recommendation for the suspension of Gideon Ekere by Federated Chapel, which was received by the State council.
Part of the statement from the State council of NUJ which issued the suspension order reads that, “The Federated Chapel, where Gideon Ekere holds his membership, took the decision to recommend his suspension from all activities of the Chapel and from all other benefits of the Union, following his alleged non adherence to the ethics of the profession and persistent derogatory publications in the social media and in his Newspaper – The Post, against the State Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, recalling that it was just few months ago that he was let off the hook from a law suit at the State High Court, Uyo, which bordered on false and malicious reports after months of pleadings by the Union in his favour.”
The release further explained that,”The Chapel took the decision following Gideon Ekere’s alleged publications in the social media and in his Newspaper – The Post, against Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, the State Commissioner for Works, which it considered as a deliberate act of character assassination.”
The suspension order which was signed by the Akwa Ibom State Chairman of the NUJ, Elder Patrick Albert and the Secretary, Comrade Amos Etuk said, in its view, the subject of Gideon Ekere’s outbursts being alleged “advert commitment” between him and the Ministry of Works, was not an issue that should have prompted such avoidable negative editorial insinuations as peddled by Mr Ekere.
The tersely worded suspension order referred Gideon Ekere’s to the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee pursuant to the Constitution of the Union, and frowned seriously at what it termed, “the unethical attitude by some practitioners”.
While kcalling for a refrain from such act of “Pull Him Down” syndrome against prominent sons/daughters of the State in the public service, either at the State or Federal levels.
The Akwa Ibom State Council of the NUJ expressed worry that, such crass behaviour by itinerant members will seriously affect the collective interests and development of Akwa Ibom State.
The NUJ disclosed that, plans have been concluded to hold a meeting with media managers of prominent public officers, publishers and on-line influencers to chart a way forward for decorum to prevail and called on journalists who did not register in the recent NUJ Compendium exercise to do so in order to give validity to their status.
It will be recalled that, Mr Gideon Ekere has in recent outbursts alleged that the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen has refused to pay his media outfit the sum of 400,000 Naira for advertorial published by his newspaper and further accused the Commissioner of purported plot to kill him. An allegation he(Ekere) published in newspapers and online mediums.
Mr Inyangeyen on his part has denied knowledge of any transaction with the Newspaper called Global Post nor with Mr Ekere. In a rejoinder signed by the information officer of the Ministry of Works, Akwa Ibom State, Mrs Ubong Ntekim, the Ministry challenged Gideon Ekere to come public with how he got the said advert and who was the issuing Authority or source, which he has not yet done as at Press time.
The suspension order may not be unconnected with another story published by Gideon Ekere alleging that, Mr Inyangeyen held a meeting during which he accused former Akwa Ibom State Governor, who is currently the Senate Minority Leader, Chief Dr Godswill Akpabio of looting over 1 trillion from the state treasury.
In a rebuttal, personally signed by Mr Inyangeyen, he dismissed the allegation as fictional and an attempt to blackmail him.
Commissioner Inyangeyen dismissed as false and malicious, the news story published in a local tabloid, The Post of Monday, August 21, 2017 with the Headline, “Akpabio stole over N1 Trillion As Governor-Ephraim Inyang”, Insisting that, at no point did he privately or publicly accuse, Senator Akpabio of embezzlement of funds or create ethnic disunity in the state as reported by the paper.
Mr Inyangeyen stated that, Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio served Akwa Ibom State for 8 solid years and his achievements aptly christened as UNCOMMON TRANSFORMATION are very visible for all to see,adding that, the former Governor enjoys a very robust relationship with Governor Udom Emmanuel and all his aides (including myself) working to make our state better.
While maintaining that no amount of fabrications and cooked up stories will change that harmonious relationship, Mr Inyangeyen said, the publisher of The Post, Gideon Ekere has serially blackmailed public officials in this crude nature and urged the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council to weed out elements like Ekere who are giving the noble profession a very terrible image and deliberately misleading the Akwa Ibom public.
Mr Inyangeyen in the Press release further called on everyone to ignore that news report and continue to support the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, who, he posited, is very passionate and committed to delivering on his campaign promises.