By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA- The Nigerian Union of Journalists, FCT Council, has expressed its outrage over the physical assault suffered by Mr. Abayomi Adeshida, a photojournalist with the Vanguard Newspapers, at the Presidential Villa, Thursday.
Adeshida, who was covering an event at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, was brutal assaulted by security aides of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while he watched.
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The NUJ FCT in a statement on Thursday, described the assault as one of the sad developments that signposts how dangerous it was to be a journalist in Nigeria especially in the past four years.
“The brutal physical assault by security details of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo against one of our members in the legitimate pursuit of his duties as a journalist further signposts how dangerous it is to be a journalist in Nigeria, especially in the last four years,” a statement signed by chairman of the council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, read.
“On a day in which Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists for security operatives to unashamedly batter a journalist in the presence of the vice president speaks to how troubling and dark Nigeria has descended into.
“We are still at a loss as to why operatives of the DSS, not like they are some street urchins, had to behave in such a despicable manner should send shivers down the spine of every reasonable Nigerian. We are however comforted by the fact that journalists in Nigeria have seen more terrible days and survived and would definitely outlast every vestige of jackboot and intimidation by state and non-state actors,” the statement further read.
Ogbeche called on Vice President to initiate an immediate probe into the unfortunate situation, while in the interim, Mr. Adeshida’s damaged camera is replaced as well as his full medical bills undertaken by the federal government.
“While we demand an immediate probe into the ugly incident with a view for disciplinary measures against all those involved in this clear abuse on a journalist and journalism, we call on Vice President Osinbajo to order for the replacement of Mr. Adeshida’s damaged camera as well as settle his medical expenses.
“However, the council will explore other avenues including legal remedy against these individuals that have further endangered press freedom and safety of journalists in Nigeria.”
The NUJ chairman urged journalists in the country not to be deterred in the performance of their duties while upholding the ethics of the profession.