PDP, IPC Decry Attack on Journalists in Kaduna

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday decried rising spate of attacks on journalists while on duty, and urged security agencies to adopt stringent measures to check the trend.

Its Chairman in Kaduna State, Mr. Hassan Hyet, while on a solidarity and sympathy visit to the Kaduna chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the consistent attack on media men was an assault to the entire society.

“Journalists have a statutory duty to educate and inform. Any attack on them will deny Nigerians the right to be educated and informed. That should be everyone’s concern,” Hyet said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that thugs invaded the NUJ secretariat last Sunday, when top members of the APC, including senators, House of Representatives members and party officials were addressing a press conference.
The press conference had centred on the delegates election conducted by the party on Saturday, July 29.

The thugs beat up journalists, broke cameras and midgets, and also destroyed part of the NUJ building.
Hyet, who described the attack as “very unfortunate,” advised politicians to learn the act of tolerance.

“Politicians must be tolerant of divergent views. In a democracy, people must be allowed to air their views and voice out grievances.
“Nigeria is not a jungle; people should not use their fists, instead of their voices, in countering others’ positions on issues.
“The journalists were merely performing their duties at the NUJ. It was wrong for anyone to have even allowed strangers into the NUJ premises,” he said.

Hyet said no society could exist without information, “whether such information is pleasant to those in authority or not”, and stressed the need to respect the freedom to express opinion.
“If you feel someone is giving the wrong information, go to the same media and state your side of the story. The law does not allow anyone to take a cutlass and start chasing other people just because of a political disagreement,” he said.

He opined that the Nigerian society would only progress and prosper if everyone was allowed to contribute his own ideas in national discourses.
NUJ chairman, Yusuf Adamu, who thanked Hyet for the visit, said that the Sunday attack was the first of its kind in the history of the NUJ in Kaduna.

He wondered why innocent journalists doing their jobs should be attacked when they were ready to equally state the side of the “attacker” in the political dispute.
Adamu said that the NUJ shall continue to discharge its duty to Nigeria and Nigerians by remaining the voice of the downtrodden, declaring that the media shall continue to stand by the people in line with the core values of journalism profession.

The NUJ official advised politicians against using youths as political thugs and hoodlums, “instead of mobilising such youths into positive ventures that will make them assets to the nation.”
Also, the International Press Centre (IPC) has decried the unwarranted attack on journalists and the invasion of the Kaduna State secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) by alleged political thugs during a press conference by some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state July 31, 2017

The journalists, Lawal Mohammed of Liberty TV and an unnamed cameraman with the Africa Independent Television (AIT) were brutalised while their working tools including cameras, cell phones and recorders were also reportedly destroyed.

The Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade,  said the action of the thugs and their sponsors was not acceptable as they should have sought other means of ventilating their grievances within the structure of their political party of which the NUJ secretariat is not one.

“The press unions exist to uphold the tenets of freedom of speech and freedom of expression, instead of the aggrieved members taking laws into its hands and unleashing attacks on the journalists, they should avail themselves by the opportunity provided for right of reply in the media,” Arogundade added.
He called on the state police command to urgently investigate the matter and ensure the arrest and prosecution of the culprits.