By Innocent Anaba, LAGOS

THE Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to prevail on security agents across the country to stop allowing themselves to be used to suppress, oppress and intimidate journalists in the country.

The call came at an event organised by Safety and Security Watch, in collaboration with the NUJ, Lagos Council, in Lagos, to mark this year’s World Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

The Lagos Council Chairman of the union, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi, through the Vice-Chairman, Mrs. Abiola Beckley, at the event, said: “Cases of killed and missing journalists are becoming more worrisome.

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“A few days ago, the NUJ in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, staged a peaceful protest at the Force Headquarters for the safe return of the missing journalist, Tordue Henry Salem of Vanguard Newspapers.

“The journalists urged the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to ensure that the journalist, who has been missing since October 13, is returned alive to his family.

“They urged the IGP to step up intelligence and investigation to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Salem.

“We are also calling on the Federal Government to reopen the investigation of journalists killed in the past, and to look into cases of journalists that were killed, attacked, kidnapped and detained, as well as make concrete efforts to apprehend the perpetrators of the acts.

They paid with their lives

“We remember Bayo Ohu of The Guardian, Godwin Agboroko of This Day, Dele Giwa of Newswatch magazine, Edo Ugbagwu of The Nation.

“We also remember Abdul Ganiyu Lawal, a Freelance Broadcast Journalist; Ikechukwu Onubogu, a Cameraman with the Anambra Broadcasting Services. Lawrence Okojie of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, in Edo State, and Famous Giobaro, a Desk Editor with Glory FM in Bayelsa State, among others.

“Other journalists murdered are, Enenche Akogwu, Fidelis Ikwuebe, Nathan Dabak.

“Okezie Amaruben, Onifade Pelumi, Precious Owolabi, Sam Nimfa-Jan, Samson Boyi, Sunday Gyang Bwede, Tunde Oladepo and Zakariya Isa.”

“As people who have a closely observed government in the last 21 years, we have come to appreciate all the more how important it is to protect our ‘fourth estate’.

“Imposition of fines on media establishment by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, is tantamount to gagging the press and is a threat to freedom of the press.

“The fines come at a time when media houses’ ad takings are dwindling and other sources of revenue contracting in the wake of the economic recession.

“Many media houses are already worried about paying salaries.

“On this World Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, we call on all security agents across the country to stop allowing themselves to be used in suppressing, oppressing and intimidating journalists.

“Journalists are the ones who can shed light on the growth of the country and also the shortcomings and as well the mouthpiece of the masses hence should be allowed to do their jobs.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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