20th August, 2011
Any Nigerian student of journalism who was taught about the hazards and repression against journalists in Nigeria would have been conversant with Minere Amakiri,then a reporter with Nigerian Observer ,the old Bendel State owned newspapers. In 1973, he shot into national limelight following reports that his head was shaved with broken bottle on the orders of Alfred Diette-Spiff, the Military governor of the State. Amakiri died yesterday at 6.45pm.
His “crime” then was that he dared to report on 30 July the plight of teachers on a day that fell on the birthday of Diette Spiff, who was then 31 years old.
Until his death, Amakiri was Publisher/Editor-in-Chief the of The Beacon Newspaper,a Port Harcourt based weekly tabloid, known for its editorial independence and pungent reportage.
He had running battles with Dr. Peter Odili, the former Governor Of Rivers State,for criticising his administration’s profligacy.
Notwithstanding, Odili sponsored Amakiri’s medical trip abroad when Amakiri was suffering from a life-threatening ailment some years back.
After his recovery, he returned to his brand of robust journalism until death called yesterday.
The family did not disclose Amakiri’s age.
By Okafor Ofiebor/ Port-Harcourt