By Gracious George
The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), has condemned the arrest of a former General Manager of the Bayelsa State Radio Corporation (Radio Bayelsa), Dr. John Idumange by security operatives.
Dr. Idumange was on Wednesday reportedly arrested at the entrance of Royal FM, a private radio station in Yenagoa, the state capital when he went to honour an invitation for a live programme.
The fiery critic have been having a running battle with the state government over a N3 billion Agric loan obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He had alleged that the government shared a substantial part of the money amongst its top officials, but the Senator Douye Diri administration dismissed the allegations, saying they are the usual rantings of a serial blackmailer.
Speaking on behalf of the CLO, Comrade Alagoa Morris described the arrest of the former university lecturer as sad and strange in the state.
He stated that it is the first time it is happening in the state, that someone will be arrested while trying to use the media to air a view on a disturbing state issue.
Alagoa Morris described the development as a negative precedent and a threat to the institution of democracy in Bayelsa which he added can snowball into more grievous things.
He said : “This has never happened in Bayelsa State, even in Dickson’s administration; that activists are ambushed and abducted in the premises of a media house or at the entrance. Information at CLO’s disposal indicates that Dr. Idumange John was supposed to feature on a live radio program, at one of the media outfits in the state capital.
“While we are still in doubt as to the facts surrounding this alleged ambushed arrest; CLO wishes to express the need for the state government to exercise caution in dealing with its critics. It would be a negative precedent, if this is allowed and bad for the democracy we fought hard to achieve.”
Morris added that if such is allowed, it will affect the media houses in Bayelsa State as activists would stay away to avoid being ambushed and arrested, saying the government would have adopted a more civilized approach by inviting Idumange for questioning.
He maintained that if the arrest was true, then it is unacceptable and condemnable, stressing that Bayelsans should not be intimidated for criticising the government and any attempt at silencing Bayelsans would be firmly resisted by the CLO.
He revealed that as the Chairman of the Fact Finding Committee, which the CLO has already set up, they would ensure the matter is followed up properly.