We write to express our concern about recent widely-circulated reports against Policy Alert (PA) credited to aides to Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State. The articles under reference appear clearly designed to generate public ill-will against PA, denigrate our hard-won image as a respected arrowhead of citizen agency in the Niger Delta, and even more, cow our team into silence. While we remain undeterred, it is imperative to make this response for the records.
The first in the series of articles, tagged “False Alert by Policy Alert, authored by Anietie Usen, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Umo Eno on Media and Publicity, disingenuously tried to downplay the expertise and pedigree of PA while it ended up not establishing a single falsehood peddled by our organization. Rather the writer took the clearly unnecessary trouble to screen-grab and splash the pictures of PA team members and our operational address in his article. While PA has nothing to hide, we cannot ignore the sinister sub-text in this part of the article’s content, as it potentially exposes our team to attacks.
A second write up from Ernest Akpan, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Local Media, falsely claims that our organization had apologized for its recent reports on illegal loan and controversial budgeting in Akwa Ibom State. It did not, however, cite a source where the alleged apology was published or mention the name of the Policy Alert staff who apologized on behalf of the organization. For the avoidance of doubt, Policy Alert stands by its position on the said issue and has at no time apologized as alleged in the mischievous article as there was no reason to do so. We are shocked that an appointee of a governor could descend so low as to blatantly lie against PA and we are interested to know if he was doing so on behalf of his employer.
We call on agents of the Akwa Ibom State Government to discontinue this campaign of falsehood and mischief against PA and concentrate on supporting the fledgling administration to grapple with urgent governance challenges. This statement has been issued not only to correct these deliberate misrepresentations of our organization and the work we do but also to draw attention to the veiled threat against PA. On the latter, let it be known that our local and international partners have been put on notice!
FOR: POLICY ALERT