The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, has expressed serious concern over the renewed wave of attacks on journalists in different parts of the country.
The director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, said in a statement Thursday that, not less than three journalists had been assaulted in the course of their legitimate duties within the past one week.
The affected journalists are:
- Hir Joseph of Daily Trust who was beaten by armed political thugs during the swearing-in ceremony of Governor Tanko Almakura in Lafia, Nassarawa State on May 29th;
Kamarudeen Ogundele of The Punch who was beaten by political thugs near the state assembly complex and close to a police road block in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State on June 3rd; and
Victor Akinkuolie of Hope Newspaper who was beaten by policemen in Ondo, Ondo state on June 2nd.
“The assault on the three journalists was so violent that they had to be hospitalized following the injuries they suffered,” Mr. Arogundade said, adding that the incidents should be condemned by all lovers of freedom of expression and democracy.
According to him, all the persons or group of persons alleged to be responsible for the bloody assaults should be immediately arrested and prosecuted by the Police authorities while the Federal and State government as well as the law enforcement agencies should take immediate steps to halt the repeated harassments of journalists.
“The right of journalists to inquire into and report on the activities of the government including elected executives and legislators as well as state agents is protected by the Nigerian constitution, which in Section 22 enjoins the Nigerian media to monitor governance and hold government accountable to the people. Journalists cannot exercise the right if their lives continue to be endangered. There should be an immediate halt to the ugly trend,” Mr Arogundade said.
The Director of IPC advised all the affected journalists and their organizations to seek redress in the law court should the police authorities fail to apprehend the culprits and charge them to court within the next 48 hours.