The Nye Udu Igbu Upata III and Regent of Ekpeye Land of Rivers State, His Royal Majesty Nye Udu Felix Enene Otuwarikpo, PhD, has charged Journalists in the state to uphold the ethics of their profession.
The monarch, who gave the charge during the opening ceremony of the 2019 Correspondents’ Week, organized by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Rivers State Chapter, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt on Monday, urged them to uphold the integrity and dignity associated with the influence of the pen.
While he praised the theme of this year’s press week: “Role Of The Media In Protecting The Rivers State Environment,” the traditional ruler invited members of the Correspondents’ Chapel to visit Ekpeye land for a first hand assessment on how security agents collude with illegal oil bunkerers to endanger the environment.
This, he said, is beside the daily pollution and emission of toxic gas materials into the environment by multinational oil giants operating in Ekpeyeland.
While noting that Ekpeye, after the renunciation exercise by cultists early this year has been peaceful, he chided security agents for “acting in cohort with criminals against the very people they are supposed to serve.”
Continuing, the royal father who is also the Chairman of Ahoada East Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, said “all our rivers, forest reserves and farmlands have been damaged by the illegal oil bunkerers.
“They are aided by security agents thereby exposing our people to risk. The irony is that security agents lobby to be posted here and not to engage in their primary function but, to engage in this illicit trade.”
The traditional ruler, however, urged the people to maintain a clean environment, saying that they should adhere strictly to environmental laws, and avoid acts that could damage the environment the more.
Earlier in his address, Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel, Chief Ernest Chinwo, alerted that the environment is “increasingly under threat” while stakeholders appear not to be taking any concrete step to remedy it.
Beside Nye Udu Otuwarikpo, other dignitaries present include Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, Permanent Secretary of the Rivers State Ministry of Information & Communications; Comrade Stanley Job, Chairman, NUJ Rivers State Council who was represented; Mr Ibifiri Bobmanuel, President of Rivers State Entrepreneurs and Investors Forum; Prof. B. B. Fakae, former vice-chancellor of Rivers State University; Dr Jossy Nkwocha, Head of Corporate Communications, Indorama-Nigeria Group; Comrade Celestine Akpobari, an environmental activist who was the keynote speaker among others.