The Young Citizens of Nigeria (YCN) has asked Imo State Government to reverse the indefinite suspension of a journalist, Vivian Ottih.
This was contained in a statement on Tuesday by its Director of Media, Augustine Nwaobi.
Vivian Ottih, also a lawyer, is a Senior Editor with Imo Broadcasting Corporation-owned Orient FM in Owerri, the state capital.
YCN advised the Governor Hope Uzodinma and his administration to “thread cautiously on issues of public importance”.
They condemned the suspension of Ottih, the Chairperson of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), over the request for payment of three months’ salary on Facebook.
YCN noted that one of the characteristics of a progressive government is the ability to respond positively to issues affecting citizen’s welfare.
“Imo Governor should know that the decision to suspend the NAWOJ Chairperson is an attack on Nigerian journalists. It is a confrontation against the media industry and aimed at silencing members of the fourth estate of the realm.
“We call on him to address the issue raised amicably. He should know that a matter that affects a journalist anywhere in the world is of global concern, hence the need to manage the situation with wisdom. A worker deserves wages”, YCN added.
Similarly, the International Press Centre (IPC) has declared the government’s action as victimisation.
IPC Executive Director, Lanre Arogundade, in a statement, demanded the unconditional recall of the suspended editor.
Arogundade maintained that the sanction was an infringement on her fundamental right under the constitution and international instruments including Article 23 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Arogundade said non-payment of salaries, especially during the coronavirus pandemic would put media practitioners in economic hardship, pains and penury.
“The State Governments, that ordinarily should be the most protective of their workers’ welfare, are now the biggest culprits needlessly owing salaries for periods up to three months thus threatening their workers’ welfare”, he regretted.
IPC noted that Ottih’s allegation should have been one of sobriety and not anger leading to the victimisation of an innocent soul who dared to speak for others.
The body called on the Imo government to unconditionally recall Ottih and pay all salaries owed journalists in its employment.