Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) leadership has expressed its concern that some Nigerian Security Personnel and Politicians have learned little about good conduct during elections, as attacks on voters and journalists during yesterday’s general election across the country still persist.
According to a media release signed up the National Secretary of the Union, Shuaibu Usman Leman, the Walin Shadalafiya, “specifically, the Union expresses serious concern by the conduct of Policemen in Port Harcourt who assaulted a journalist and political thugs in Ibadan, Oyo State who attacked voters, including Journalists”.
The union also noted that it was recorded by the NUJ Election Situation Room at the Union’s National Secretariat, Abuja that a reporter with The PUNCH, Gbenga Oloniniran, was on Saturday afternoon arrested by policemen near the residence of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Rumuiprikon, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
“He was brutalised by the policemen for attempting to take their pictures when they were assaulting a male voter at a polling unit close to Governor Wike’s polling unit at Wimpey Junction, Rumuepirikom, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“In another sad incident, a vehicle belonging to the News Agency of Nigeria crew members on election duty around the Liberty area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital was among vehicles attacked by youths who were allegedly protesting bad governance in the country”, the release added.
Reacting while considering the preliminary report from the NUJ Election Situation Room in Abuja today, the NUJ President, Comrade Chris Isiguzo expressed worry that at this crucial time of transition, Policemen still vent their anger on Journalists while some politicians continue to devise dubious ways and means of trying to disrupt the political process.
According to Comrade Isiguzo, journalists take great personal and professional risks to collect, process and disseminate news and information to millions of citizens, yet some security operatives and some unscrupulous political Actors continue to plot evil against media professionals and their equipment.
The Union, he said will not accept this ugly trend where the number of journalists that suffer various acts of impunity across the country and attacks on media equipment and facilities increases during elections.
Attacks like these, Comrade Isiguzo noted pose great danger to democracy.
He therefore called on the Inspector General of Police and other Security Chiefs to come out with a better and sustainable strategy in securing Journalists while on election duties.