News

June 11, 2024

June 12: IPC frowns at surveillance on premises

Bandits in Zamfara

International Press Centre, IPC, has condemned the presence of police officers on its premises, noting that the centre has no plan to organise any protest on June 12.

Disclosing this on Tuesday in a statement sent to Vanguard, Melody Akinjiyan, Press Freedom Officer, IPC, noted that “International Press Centre is a media resource institution that works in the civic and civil society space to expand the frontiers of media freedom, the safety of journalists, media independence, access to the media by marginalised groups and communities, the right to freedom of expression; and build journalistic and media capacities to enhance democracy and development”.

Read the full statement below:

“On Tuesday, June 11th, 2024, around 1:40 pm two men in mufti, who eventually identified themselves as officers of the Nigeria Police Force approached one of the staff members of the International Press Centre, IPC, right at the entrance to the office’s premises at Dideolu Estate, Ogba, Lagos-Nigeria.

“The police officers who claimed to have parked at the location for a while before the actual time of engagement told the IPC’s staff that their mission was to carry out surveillance on the premises regarding a press conference that was held at the hall of the centre on June 6th, 2024, by some organisations on the activities they planned for the anniversary of June 12th.

“Refusing to state their names, the police officers further admitted that their superiors sanctioned their presence to investigate whether the nationwide protest was being planned at the International Press Centre, ahead of the said date, a claim that was immediately and correctly refuted.

“Last Friday two men who identified themselves as officials of the Lagos Neighbourhood Watch had also called at IPC demanding to know about an alleged protest following the press conference. IPC decries this unwarranted siege on its premises and the attendant intimidation of its staff.

“The IPC is neither planning nor organising any protest whether on June 12 or any other day.

“The International Press Centre is a media resource institution that works in the civic and civil society space to expand the frontiers of media freedom, the safety of journalists, media independence, access to the media by marginalised groups and communities, the right to freedom of expression; and build journalistic and media capacities to enhance democracy and development.

“Also, as the name suggests, IPC has facilities for hosting events including meetings, roundtables, receptions, awards and press conferences by organisations and individuals who hire such facilities for usage.

“In this regard, the facilities have been used by diverse interest groups and individuals since IPC’s establishment 25 years ago.

“The management of the IPC demands an immediate halt to the siege as it further undermines the civic space while constituting another dimension to the spate of attacks on press freedom and the right to free speech in Nigeria”.