By Anayo Onukwugha |
The Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the recent attack on nine journalists by persons suspected to be hoodlums in the presence of some men and officers of the Nigeria Police in the state.
The journalists report for different media organisations in the state including Rhythm FM, RSTV, SweetCrude, Sahara Reporters,Wish FM, Today’s FM and Arise TV.
The union alleged that its members were attacked in the presence of operatives of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Rivers State Police Command on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at the New Airport Road in Rumuagholu community of Obio/Akpor local government area of the state, where they had gone for a press briefing.
It listed some of the items looted from the journalists to include nine smart phones, two cameras, one HDV Sonny and Canon and their accessories, audio recorder, wrist watches, two medicated eye glasses and cash.
The NUJ, in a statement signed by state chairman, Stanley Job Stanley and secretary, Ike Wigodo, described the attack as unfortunate, barbaric and criminal, pointing out that under no circumstance should journalists on legitimate duty be attacked by anybody.
The statement said the attack on the nine journalists by hoodlums before the very eyes of security agents portends ominous signal to the safety and security of lives.
It frowned at the arrest and detention of two of the journalists, Uchendu Ejiowhor of Today’s FM and Aham Chijioke of Sahara Reporters by the Anti-Cultism Unit, only to be later released on the intervention of the NUJ leadership.
The statement reads in part: “We wonder why the anti-cultism squad of the Rivers State Police Command would arrest and detain journalists who were attacked, beaten and wounded by hoodlums, instead of protecting them, while allowing the hoodlums to have a free day. This is strange.
“We had expected the security agents to rise in defence of the nine journalists at the scene of the attack, and arrest and prosecute the hoodlums. Unfortunately, the reverse was the case.”
The NUJ, therefore, appealed to the Rivers State Police Command to always defend and protect journalists on lawful duty, while also ensuring that the hoodlums involved in the barbaric attack are fished out for prosecution.
The statement warned that any further assault on journalists in the State either by security agents or hoodlums would be vehemently resisted by the NUJ.