PYJ Takes on EPS Boss
The political leader of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) Senator Prince Y. Johnson has termed the recent utterances of the Director of the elite presidential guard, Executive Protection Service (EPS) as disgusting and worrisome.
Speaking to The NewDawn on Wednesday via mobile, the Nimba County Senior Senator said the statement of the EPS Director, Othello Warrick, has the propensity to undermine peace and stability in the country.
“When I heard the statement especially the aspect where he (Warrick) said that the (EPS) has guns and journalists have pens, it signals something terrible to me.
It reminds me of the dark days when journalists, who were providing their side of contributions to the country were considered as enemies. I hope that he will desist from such unfriendly utterances that could endanger the peace and take our country back”, Johnson admonished.
It can be recalled that on 3 May during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, Mr. Warrick, while addressing the ceremony on the Fairground in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County before hundreds of journalists said any journalist, who incriminates the integrity of Liberians, including Warrick himself, or the presidency, "The EPS will go after them; We will go after any journalist. Liberia is for everyone and must maintain law and order,” the presidential security boss declared.
Warrick further warned that journalists should “not pass the border," as his guards stormed the corridors of the building.
Tension engulfed the hall when Warrick returned to the podium to reinforce his acrimonious feelings with the journalists. "Some of you, not all of you, are terrorists," he said.
Sen. Johnson, who heads the Senate Statutory Committee on National Defense and Security, explained that such a violent statement uttered by Director Othello Warrick on World Press Freedom Day, a day of sober reflection by journalists and good people on the role and challenges encountered by the media in performing their duties, is ‘unfortunate’.
He noted that it further exposes media practitioners to danger, especially by those, who seek to return Liberia to its dark days, when Liberian journalists were brutally arrested, attacked or beaten and jailed or killed, while discharging their duties.
Meanwhile, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Youth League said the deliberate silence of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the matter is a clear indication that Director Othello Warrick was operating at her behest, and that she is prepared to support him even if it means pushing Liberia back into the days of conflict.
CDC Youth League National Chairman Jefferson Koijee, noted with dismay the conspicuous silence of President Sirleaf in the wake of remarks by the Director of the Executive Protection Service, threatening to go after journalists as their reportage constitute what he termed “another war.”
“President Sirleaf should take immediate corrective action against Warrick or face drastic democratic action in protecting the men of the media. Warrick is also warned that any unlawful arrest, detention, disappearance or death of a journalist in Liberia will lead to unspecified retaliatory action not just against Warrick, but against family members, far and near”, Koijee asserted.
He said the National Youth League remains committed and determined to ensure that the rights of all Liberians are enjoyed to the fullest and made it clear that no one person can threaten the peace that all CDCians and non-CDCians, Liberians and foreign nationals alike have done so much to revive.
The youth league pointed out that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who has been trumpeting around the continent, claiming to be the embodiment of the Table Mountain Declaration has made no effort or attempt to provide administrative discipline regarding the utterances of her chief bodyguard, while she sits in an office with the African Press Freedom Award, provided by the African Editors Association.