The International Press Centre (IPC), has condemned the continued arrest and assault on journalists in Nigeria.
Specifically, the organisation condemns the recent assault and illegal detention of a reporter with the Blueprint Newspaper, Abuja who was physically beaten, dragged on the floor and illegally detained by the Jikwyo Division Police Force in Abuja on August 4.
According to reports on the incident, Moses John was physically assaulted and illegally detained for over 14 hours by two police officers identified as Sergeant Ishaya Jock and Corporal Akpa Gabriel said to be attached to Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) revenue collectors, at about 4:30p.m around Sada Cruz hotel junction in Abuja.
Narrating his ordeal, Moses noted that he was assaulted because he was a journalist.
“While waiting for my car to be washed, I sat in a beer parlour when the policemen came and ordered the sealing of the bar. When I inquired after introducing myself as a journalist, the officers started beating me with their boot, dragged me into their car, together with a passerby who tried to take pictures, and drove off to Jikwyo Police Station where we were detained, and they claimed that I am an intruder,” he said.
The Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a statement described this incident as barbaric and unacceptable.
“We are concerned that if a journalist can be so brazenly assaulted in Abuja, the FCT, where decorum and respect for citizens’ rights should be a priority, then the respect for the rights and safety of journalists and other citizens in other parts of Nigeria is in jeopardy. If for any reason a security agent has an issue with a journalist, he or she should take it up in a civilised and proper way, and not taking laws into their hands by using brute force, beating and kicking. The duty of the police is to protect citizens and not assault journalists who have committed no crime,” Arogundade said.
IPC therefore called the attention of the acting Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim K. Idris, to the petition submitted by Moses John on this issue, and craved his indulgence to act fast, by immediately probing all individuals involved, and take necessary actions against erring officers as a deterrent to others.
“Journalists, who are the fourth estate of the realm in governance and development structure have key roles to play as partners in the development process and should therefore not become object of assault by security agents,” Arogundade said.