By Amgbare Ekaunkumor, Yenagoa
The Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of DailyWatch Newspaper, Mr. Cletus Opukeme has alleged that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and supervising minister of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Senator Godswill Akpabio using ‘crooked’ security operatives to threatening his life and family members over the revelation of massive misappropriation of #40 billion in the commission.
Mr. Opukeme advised Senator Godswill Akpabio and the NDDC Interim Management Committee led by Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei to seek redress from court than using the DSS and Police to intimidate, harass and threaten his life and staff.
DailyWatch reports that the commando styled security operatives invaded the Warri office of Nigeria Union of Journalists and arrest a journalist against his wish and detained in a police station unconstitutionally.
Mr. Opukeme alleged that the embattled Niger Delta Minister Senator Godswill Akpabio was using ex-militants, Nigeria Police and the operatives of Department of State Security, DSS to gag and intimidate journalists from discharging their corporate and constitutional duties as fourth estate of the realm enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
This was disclosed in Warri, Delta State in a statement by its Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Cletus Opukeme and made available to newsmen, he accused Senator Godswill Akpabio of assassinating the spokesman of Izanzan, late Comrade Famous Believe for protesting against his massive looting in NDDC.
He, therefore called on well-meaning Nigerians, corporate organizations and Nigeria Police Force to hold Senator Godswill Akpabio responsible if anything happens to his life and family members.
Prevailing on the arrest of Mr. Matthew Omonigho in Warri by the Nigeria Police, Mr. Opukeme said the Police confiscated all gadgets and phones as well as detained the delegation of the NUJ, quoting Police saying “We are acting on instruction and directive from the above”.
Although, the National Assembly has also began investigation into alleged misappropriation of #40billion and activities of the Commission since its creation in 2002.
The statement reads, “My attention has been drawn to a clandestine move by Niger Delta Minister Godwill Akpabio, who is the supervising minister of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) using crooked Inspector General Police (IGP) Boys to abduct me and do whatever thing they were instructed to do to me over DailyWatch of exposing the monumental fraud in NDDC running to billions of naira that had attracted the Senate and House of Representatives to set up various committees to probe the commission Interim Management Committee.
“Yesterday, the IGP boys from Abuja traced me from Abuja to the office of the Nigerian Union of journalists office in Warri, Delta State and in a commando like manner abducted Mr. Matthew Omonigho away who later called that he was dumped at Area Commander office Warri.
“The Police told them that they were special squad sent from Abuja to arrest Mr. Cletus Opukeme, the Publisher/ Editor-in-Chief of Daily Watch.
“I want to categorically warn that the so-called crooked IGP paid boys and other security operatives should stay away from DailyWatch publications. That if Senator Godswill Akpabio or any other person feel aggrieved by our published stories. They know the right option which is to seek for redress as the court is there for them to sue DailyWatch publisher and allow the judiciary to determine our publication whether it is libelous and defamatiory. It is not the place of DSS, the IGP boys or any other security operatives to be used to intimidate DailyWatch over our genuine investigations which first exposed large scale of financial missapproriation in NDDC. Senator Akpabio has turned NDDC to a cash cow looting the common wealth of the people of Niger Delta and intimidation or arrest by IGP Boys /DSS cannot frighten us from doing what we know how to do best by informing the public the right information.
“The invasion of Warri NUJ office by the crooked IGP TEAM to arrest a journalist is an embarrassment to democracy in the country as journalists have freedom of expression enshrined on the nation’s constitution.
“If Akpabio is aggrieved by our publications for exposing his massive looting, he should go to court and stop intimidating me with the police and ex-militants to gag the press from doing our Constitutional duties
“The said IG squad called one of the arrested journalists to direct them to Cletus Opukeme’s residence who identified himself as Reuben with the following phone: 08116912068 quoting the reporter ”One Mr. Reuben just called now requesting to know if I have been able to see Cletus. I told him that he only called me this morning wherein I asked him to be at the Area Command with me in solidarity and he refused. Again, he asked if I know any link with which they could get him and I said No. He later cut the call”.
“The same similar threats were being made by unidentified members over campaign against Akpabio’s massive looting by Izanzan which after a protest was made against Akpabio and his NDDC IMC within a week assassins shot dead the vibrant and resourceful spokesman Comrade Famous Believe on the 18th May 2020 which police is investigating the murderers till now”, it stated.