By Olasunkanmi Akoni
LAGOS—FOLLOWING the attack by a faction of the National Union of Road Transport Union, NURTW, on some journalists who covered the campaign flag-off of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has called for government’s intervention to stop the menace.
Similarly, the Lagos Journalists League condemned the unwarranted attacks by suspected hoodlums on journalists.
Journalists affected by the attack include; the Group Political Editor of The Nation Newspaper, Mr. Emmanuel Oladesu; New Telegraph correspondent, Temitope Ogunbanke and Ibile Television cameraman, Abiodun Yusuf.
In a statement by NUJ National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman said: “We regret that in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, journalists take great personal and professional risks to collect, process and disseminate news and information to over 100 million citizens in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and beyond.
“But sadly, being a journalist today can often be a deadly pursuit, particularly for those covering conflict and other dangerous assignments. Conflict areas and post-conflict areas are predominantly dangerous environments for journalists.
“We particularly appeal to the Federal Government and all States of the Federation to take effective measures for better protection of journalists in their assignments.”
IPC, League condemn attack
Similarly, Secretary General, Lagos Journalists League, Enitan Olukotun said: “The unfortunate incident is yet a sad reminder of how journalists have become endangered species in the course of duty.
“We will not hesitate to advise our esteemed colleagues to shun rallies of political parties who could not provide the barest minimum security for journalists who are reporting their activities.” Only one person died—APC
However, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, while briefing newsmen, insisted that only one person was recorded to have lost his life in the process.
It was reported that three persons died in the violent clash.
Igbokwe said: “I don’t know why that union is attractive, we don’t need such people around us, the last time we witnessed this kind of crisis was in 2007 at Ibeju Lekki. We made use of monitoring cameras and we caught them. Hoodlums always take advantage of this kind of situation.
“We are sorry this will not repeat itself again. We did everything to manage the crowd but there are unforeseen circumstances. We need to play politics well.“
Meanwhile, the International Press Centre, IPC, has condemned the shooting of journalists who covered the Lagos State APC campaign flag-off.
A statement by the Coordinator of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the IPC said: “IPC, hereby, reminds all political parties that the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage obligates them to ensure the safety of journalists covering their activities including campaigns.
“IPC therefore calls on the Lagos APC to urgently take appropriate steps to apprehend the alleged perpetrators of the bizarre attack with a view to handing them over to the law enforcement agencies for immediate prosecution, also as provided by the Code of Election Coverage.”