By Bose Adelaja
The Association of Practitioners of Community Media in Nigeria APCOM, has called for adequate security to be put in place especially at campaign grounds to avoid avoidable tragedies at political rallies.
The association also condemned the shooting of three journalists in the fracas that disrupted the flag off campaign of All Progressives’ Congress APC, in Ikeja, Lagos State.
Three people were killed and many others were injured including a chieftain of the National Union of Road Transport Workers NURTW, and three journalists a photographer Abiodun Yusuf of Ijoba Ibile TV; Group Political Editor of the Nation Newspaper, Emmanuel Oladesu; and News Telegraph Correspondent,Temitope Ogunbanke were alleged to have been shot during the fracas.
APCOM the registered umbrella body for community media practitioners in Nigeria, has lamented the ugly incident calling on security operatives to be alive in their responsibilities and also bring the perpetrators to book.
On that fateful Tuesday, the scuffle had broken out on the Sky-power Ground, Ikeja among members of same political group which resulted in the use of harmful implements during a free for all fight.
A statement signed by APCOM President Dayo Akintobi, urged the government to call the perpetrators to order. He said, ‘’APCOM in no uncertain terms condemns this brazen and unwarranted assault on our colleagues while in the line of duty. The Association demands that the perpetrators of the dastardly shootings be apprehended and made to face the full wrath of the law,’’
He called on political parties to provide adequate security during their campaigns, ‘’This disproportionate statistic speaks to the dangerous nature of journalists’ jobs and makes a case for why extra security measures must always be in place to protect them during potentially volatile assignments like coverage of political rallies. The Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage came into existence, and obligates political parties to ensure safety of journalists covering their activities including campaigns,’’
Also, he called on party leaders to be alive in their responsibilities adding, ‘’As demonstrated by the events of the Lagos APC 2018 flag-off rally, the party did not perform its duty to the journalists in attendance as required by the Code. Political rallies should not be a dangerous affair but can be well organised and properly policed to achieve peace as the case may be. Finally, we journalists have a responsibility to protect ourselves at all times and remain safe during potentially volatile assignments, particularly election coverage. It is one of APCOM’S objectives to secure insurance coverage for our members in partial mitigation of the occupational hazards we face daily.’’ He added.