House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers Thursday, 29 March ordered armed police officers of the elite Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and Executive Protection Service (EPS) to drag out NewDawn Newspaper Reporter accredited at the Legislature E.J. Nathaniel Daygbor, and other reporters for requesting for a copy of the Speaker’s academic credentials.
Speaker Chambers failed to respond to request to provide his credentials, rather insisting that the NewDawn staff and other reporters who had accompanied him leave his office, accusing this paper to be “anti – Chambers” and defender of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf.
The Speaker further accuses the NewDawn of allegedly publishing lot of negative stories against him that have the propensity to destroy his hard – earned character.
In an angry mood, he alleges that during his campaign for the position of Speaker, this paper and its reporter, Daygbor, were totally against his quest, and battled through the use of pen and commentaries.
It all started Thursday when three reporters, including NewDawn’s Nathaniel Daygbor, Jackson Clay of the New Republic newspaper, Austin Kawa of Prime Fm, and William Sandi Kamara of the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) went to Speaker Chambers and asked for a copy of his academic credentials.
Upon their arrival at the Speaker’s office, the media advisor to the Speaker, Bobby Addison, informed the team of reporters that he was going to his boss to get a copy.
But Speaker Chambers, dressed in blue coat suit with pink shirt probably from a meeting, stormed the office within the same period, immediately ordering the NewDawn Reporter and others to leave.
But When further pressed as to whether he will make available his credentials, Chambers instructed his men: “I want to see them especially, the NewDawn reporter downstairs!”
While the officers were trying to be gentle, Speaker Chambers walked straight to the reporters and shouted: “Get outside!” He physically pushed Reporter Daygbor outside.
Speaker Chambers claims that he earned a combined Masters and PhD from Columbus University in Law Enforcement Management, a BSc. in Law Enforcement from Metropolitan State University, respectively both in the United States.
However, there is no indication which year he earned those degrees thus, prompting the reporter’s action to seek a copy of his credentials.
His credentials have created longstanding debate here in some quarters, and reporters might be thinking that this could be the right time to get it from him since he is now the third man in command in government.
But it seems any attempt to request for his credentials provokes Speaker Chambers. This is the third time since the ascendency of the 54th Liberian Legislature that media practitioners have been attacked by lawmakers.
The first incident involved Grand Bassa County female Senator, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, who ordered the flogging of Inprofile Daily newspaper Reporter, Abraham Morris, and Reporter Austin Kawa of Prime Fm.
Later, there was another incident when Reporter Henry Karmo of FrontPageAfrica newspaper was assaulted by Montserrado County Electoral District #9 Representative, Munah Pelham Youngblood.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Edited by Winston W. Parley