The Nigeria Labour Congress has condemned in strong terms the detention of a senior reporter and presenter with the Africa Independent Television (AIT), Mr. Amaechi Anakwe, on the orders of Assistant Inspector General of Police in Abuja, Mr. Jospeph Mbu.
The labour union alled on the Federal Government to tame Mr. Mbu, who only recently described himself as a Lion, warning “that we shall resist any attempt to gag the press or harass any one going about their lawful duty in a peaceful and lawful manner”.
In a statement signed by its general secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo- Eson, NLC noted “It is too soon to forget that the media played a leading role in securing the fourth republic for Nigerians. That task was not accomplished by playing the lapdog of everyone”.
The NLC noted “The offence of Mr Anakwe is that he had referred to Mr Mbu as ‘controversial’, which in our view is neither derogatory nor libelous. Even if the word or sentence were otherwise, there are lawful channels of redress. Mr Mbu cannot be judge and prosecutor in his own case”.
It added, “Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to which we are all answerable in spite of our station in life”.
The statement said “The arrest and detention of Mr Anekwe is therefore a calculated attempt to muzzle the press and free speech in a democracy. And it does not appear to be an isolated case as a few months earlier, this same Mbu violently broke up the Bring-Back-the -Chibok- Girls Campaign on the basis of a non-existent law, drawing international condemnation of the government”.
It expressed concern that “His (Mr. Mbu’s) antecedents in Rivers State from where he was deployed to Abuja are not less sinister. Rather than receive a reprimand, Mbu was rewarded with a choice posting and promotion, with not a few speculating that he is being positioned to be IGP”.
Not only that, NLC recalled “A few weeks ago, a chest- thumping Mbu had boasted at his hand-over ceremony that he was “the lion that tamed the tiger of Rivers State.
“Much earlier though unrelated to Mbu, newspaper publications adjudged not to be friendly to the government were routinely seized and destroyed”.
The NLC said it found it necessary to “Sound a note of caution on Mr Mbu. His above- the-law attitude to the work of law enforcement gives him out as one that is more inclined to promoting anarchy than the rule of law”.
In the perception of the labour union, “He (Mbu) does not seem to represent the mainstream 21st century police if his routine primitive, partisan and primordial outbursts are anything to go by. He is a serial embarrassment to the Police Force we need.
What Nigeria needs, the NLC stated “is a Police Force that is concerned with public good, law, order and justice. We doubt Mr Mbu is in the right company”.
The statement concluded with a wise saying that “A word for those that invest and promote lions, quite often times, they end up in their bellies”.