Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi has advised Maritime journalists to be objective in their report respect to enhance mutual cooperation.
He however warned that should they deviate from laid down tenets he would not hesitate to complain directly to their publishers.
“Deal with us objectively. You must deal with us in an objective manner, otherwise, I will be the first person to write to your publishers, to say I am being blackmailed” Amaechi threatened.
The caution also came as efforts were made to merge all Maritime Journalists Associations into one.
Obviously disappointed with the unwillingness of the various associations to accept his request, Amaechi directed all parastatals under him, which includes the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) and the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) to cut off with immediate effect, the extension of any form of patronage to all news practitioners’ associations, until they come together.
“You want me to give you more time? I will give you more time. If it takes you one week or three weeks, come and tell me when you are ready, but, until then, any parastatal that relates with any association would be doing so against this directives”,
Amaechi further warned that if the journalists think they could play on his intelligence, they would find him a shrew and willing fighter.
The Minister said he was aware that some group decided against his merger option stressing that he would henceforth treat new hounds as reporters on individual merits.
“As I sit here, I ask myself, what is your interest? As for me, if you want to form 10 organizations, stay, form them, but we will not deal with any organization; and any parastatal that does so, is doing so, on his own.
“Government will henceforth deal with you as normal reporters. If any of you writes, we will acknowledge. But if any association writes, we will not even acknowledge”, he stated further.
The President of MARAN, commended the Minister for a job well done, for his genuine interest in the Maritime sector.
He however stated, that it would be nice if the Minister’s attention is brought to the fact that there’s no crisis in the Maritime Sector, adding that if the Maritime sector should become one then outsiders would believe something isn’t right in the industry and that may not be too good for the Maritime Industry.
Subsequently, the body posited that it would be nicer if the Minister can leave things the way they are. But if he couldn’t, then he should give them more time.
Earlier reactions from stakeholders was however mixed as a few lauded him for attempting to gag the media, while some simply accused him of outrightly being meddlesome.