Freed Dutch AfricawebTV Director Dedicates Award To Two Nigerian Journalists
BEVERLY HILLS, October 18, (THEWILL) - One of the freed Dutch nationals involved in the ill-fated Dodo River trip in which five Dutch nationals were abducted by suspected 'militia', Mr. Femi Soewu, has dedicated an award of honour conferred on him to the two Nigerian journalists who were on the trip for being the first to break the story to the world.
Ms. Marianne Hendriks-Vos and Messer Erhard Leffers, both into designing and publishing and helping to produce Holland-based Inside Niger Delta Magazine; Jandries Groenedijk, a documentary film maker, Niger Delta environmental activist, Comrade Sunny Ofehe, and Femi Soewu, a Creative Director at the Holland-based Africa WebTV, were recipients of African Diaspora Merit Awards (ADMA) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands in an event christened the “Dutch 5″.
Soewu, affirmed that the two Nigerian journalists, Messer Joe Ogbodu and Theophilus Onojeghen of the National Mirror, who were also caught in the line of fire during the attack, were the unsung heroes of the Niger Delta.
He added that the dedication of the award to them stemmed from the fact that the two journalists stayed on the story all through and gave “eyewitness reports that the whole world came to know immediately about our fate.”
In a formal letter entitled “Appreciation and Dedication”, personally addressed to one of the journalists, Mr. Joe Ogbodu, who doubles as Vice Chairman of the local branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Warri Correspondent Chapel, Soewu said he would have preferred if the journalists who were also victims of the traumatic experience of May 4, 2014 were also honoured.
The letter read in part; “Last Saturday, (11-10-2014), the so-called 'Dutch 5' who were victims of a kidnapping in Letugbene on Sunday 4th of May 2014 were honoured with the African Diaspora Merit Awards in Amsterdam.
“While collecting the award, I could not help but think about the two other people who should have been there. Those two people, you (Joe Ogbodu) and Theophilus Onojeghen, were also caught in line of fire that day.
“There was a last video I made while being shot at by the hoodlums on that day. It perfectly captures the raw fear and shock on your face. Every time I have looked at that video ever since, I have always been reminded of how close we all were to being slaughtered on the waters of Dodo River.
“It is thanks to your eyewitness reports that the whole world came to know immediately about our fate. You could have allowed your commitment to stop with those first reports but you and Theophilus stuck around and were also eyewitnesses when the Bayelsa Police callously bundled Sunny and I to jail for coming to report the crime.
“When the Commissioner of Police was denying our arrest, you guys could rise up and tell the world he was playing with the truth. You did not have to leave Warri and follow us to Yenegoa but you left your family to ensure you stayed on top of the story.
“Most importantly for me as a person and journalist, you and Theophilus were the only people who kept reporting my name when other journalists were only focused on the three whites , Dutch nationals and Sunny Ofehe.
“Even as we speak, people (even those who should know better are still more focused on the white nationals for their own purposes, but that is another story).
“So while accepting the award, I would have wished we were called the Dutch 5 + 2 to honour your breaking news reports and more. I will forever be grateful for your efforts.
“All too often, people remember only those whom are being reported. And those being reported bask unabashedly in the glory and limelight but people forget those who risk everything to be in the line of fire.'