Nigerian Union of Journalists is constrained to again decry the continuing brutalization of journalists by uniformed men. Its occurrence is becoming alarming appearing to be a deliberate attempt to undermine the journalism profession, demean journalists, intimidate us into silence, deny us the opportunity to do our constitutional duties as enshrined in Section 22 of the 1999 constitution and by implication putting our democracy in peril.
The attack, assault and brutalization of our senior and respected member MR Bonaventure Melah, the Managing Editor of Daily Times on Tuesday 22 May by Vehicle Inspection Officers VIO with policemen watching and doing nothing to help the journalist shows that security agencies apparently have a clandestine agenda of humiliating journalists and they are united in the perpetration of crimes against journalists.
Bonaventure Melah was carrying out his legitimate duty when he was covering a fracas between VIO and Taxi drivers in Maitama which caused serious breach of public peace. The VIO on sighting his camera , pounced on him, ceased and smashed his IPAD with which he was recording VIO’s impunity against taxi drivers. They as well beat him up as well as tore his clothes, just for doing his job.
The NUJ therefore condemns this and previous attacks and calls on government to halt the continuing impunity for crimes against journalists. While we call on government to investigate and bring the officers to book, the NUJ shall pursue this case to the full extent of the law.
We also demand the immediate resignation or sack of Wadata Bodinga Director, Directorate of Road Traffic Services for refusing to even begin investigation into the case days, after it was reported to them.
We have had enough, we shall not tolerate any other attack on journalists and the FCT shall hold a protest to raise global awareness on the dangers journalists face in the execution of our job.
All journalists are hereby put on notice that within the next few days, we shall hold a protest to demand for the respect and protection of our right to and access to information and dissemination of same.