I understand that Blessing Bethel Esitikot was arraigned yesterday and remanded in Ikot Ekpene Correctional Center. This is unfortunate indeed, that at his young age, he is suddenly carrying the burden of unbridled tongue.
I have taken time to study some of the publications by Blessing Bethel Esitikot against Godwin Inyieng and found some of them quite despicable, annoying, mendacious, insulting, offensive, libelous. but forgivable.
I wish to repeat again as I did before that Mr Inyieng has good reasons to feel offended because his reputation and standing in the eyes of reasonable men has been disparaged. As a human being, he has every right to seek legal redress against Blessing Bethel. However, I love to encourage him to only spank the young man. forgive him and draw him back to his warm embrace as a father .
According to Mahatma Gandhi “forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”, While C.S Lewis says “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Blessing Bethel Esitikot is one brilliant young man I know from NyakIba village. As a second-class upper division graduate of political science, I have spoken to him on a few accessions on his career path and advised him to be more circumspect in his choice of words whenever he is criticizing people.
For example, on May 23, Blessing Bethel Esitikot wrote on his face book:
“Before I resume with that the Randy man called Godwin Inyieng this morning…
Uyo Senatorial District, Behold your senator Hon Aniekan Bassey “
A randy man according to Merriam Webster dictionary is a person who is sexually aroused; lustful; lecherous.
Worthy of note about that brief post was the fact that the speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly ,Hon Aniekan Bassey was tagged. Due to the personality of the speaker who is Blessing Esitikot’s Facebook friend ,I guess the post must have gone viral.
On 19th May, Blessing Bethel had earlier made a post addressing Mr Inyieng as a fake pastor.
In another post, Blessing Bethel made a caricature of the chairman when he wrote ” Abeg how much is Longrich Tooth paste? I want to buy it for my randy fake pastor” Mr Inyieng’s picture was inserted in the post with his buccal region circled.
I am very much aware that we have critical issues of development in Ukanafun that demand constructive criticisms, but not character assassination and undertaken Mr Bethel
Mr Blessing Bethel Esitikot was eventually arrested by the police, arraigned and remanded in Ikot Ekpene Correctional center.
The Protem convener of Ikot Ekpene senatorial District media Advocates Comrade Emma Akpabio in his reaction to the arrest and detention of Blessing Bethel wrote:
“…Meanwhile, every young man and woman must always know that there is a difference between Character assassination and constructive criticism. Some of my efforts to secure his release include:
Calling Ndiana-Abasi Udom
Calling Pastor Godwin Inyieng and lots of others to see how we can secure his release.
As the Protem convener of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district media advocate, I have also secured an appointment with the chairman and my team to discuss the way forward.”
Emma Akpabio being a journalist and public relations professional was obviously speaking from the backdrop of his understanding of media law and prohibition of publications with libelous contents.
Barr. Uyokam Ekerete in his well-articulated legal opinion on the issue of criminal libel and cyber crime wrote:
“This piece is not a rejoinder to any particular incident but a response to a broader issue, which appears to be stucked at the confluence of ignorance and confusion lately.
Criticism should not be about bringing down, disparaging, insulting or annoying anyone. It should be constructive and deliberately intended to facilitate actionable recommendations.
The import of pointedly labelling someone as inept, fake and randy on social media which particularly commands a wider readership, is unambiguously damaging, unequivocally libellous and exposes the person to insult and hatred. Such publications inarguably cast aspersions on the person and his reputation and further black-brush him in invidious colours leaving a toxic stench to follow his good name and integrity.
Using a computer system like the mobile phone or other network to send a false message for the purpose of causing annoyance, insult, etc is cyberstalking, an offence under the Cybercrime(Prohibition, Prevention, Etc) Act, 2015. It is similarly criminalized under our Criminal Code as criminal defamation.
A user of a cell phone is expected to be responsible, bearing in mind that the constitutional right to freedom of expression is not absolute; that the right to swing one’s fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
Ekom Nwoko the younger brother of U. Nwoko SAN also wrote:
“The Court of Appeal in the case of THE SUN PUBLISHING LTD & ANOR V. ALADINMA MEDICAL LTD. (2015) ALL FWLR (PT. 813) 1626 emphasized on the need for journalists to display highest level of professionalism in exercise of their duty as guaranteed by Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as Amended) thus, “Press freedom guaranteed by the Constitution does not say that reporters should publish destructive stories about peoples’ businesses without first having to conduct some investigations before hurling to the press. Press freedom commands a corresponding measure of responsibility on the part of the reporter who must employ the highest level of professionalism in ensuring that a balanced and fair reportage of events are published as they have occurred. In the matter of the dissemination of news, the press must ensure the accuracy of its information before it passes it to others as gospel truth. To know the truth and to disseminate untruths to the ignorant, or to disseminate news carelessly and recklessly as to whether it is true or false is the most heinous of all sins under section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)”.
It is important to note that Mr Inyieng is first and foremost a Nigerian citizen with full rights and privileges. He is also a husband, father, church leader before chairman of council. As a chairman of council,he is not insulated in any way from constructive criticisms, but blatant assassination of his character as in the instant case is condemnable.
Among the numerous appeals to the Pst Inyieng to forgive and release Blessing Esitikot, I found that of Young Mark quite touching.
Mr Young wrote
“Dear Chairman, Hon. Godwin Inyieng,
See yourself as father of many children, the good, bad and the ugly, the stubborn, the obedient, the hardworking, and the lazy. You tolerate them all.
…I honestly and totally condemn those words used on you, and I believe too, he and others would have taken corrections.
God bless you for harkening to the voice of plea, more than the provoking statements and comments.
I Wish to align myself with the passionate plea by Iniobong Young Mark and many other merciful hearts to solicit for the quick release of Mr Blessing Bethel and amicable resolution of the matter..
I strongly believe that with this experience, he will learn to be more circumspect in future to avoid carrying the unwarranted burden of unbridled tongue.
To err is human and to forgive is divine.
An eye for an eye will turn everybody blind