Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council rose Saturday from its Congress with a demand that the Department of State Service (DSS) release Mr. Tony Ezimakor, the Bureau Chief of the Daily Independent unconditionally or charge him to court if it has any allegation against him.
The NUJ Congress while deliberating on the continued unlawful detention of Ezimakor by the DSS since Wednesday, February 28, maintained that the detention violated the journalist’s fundamental human rights and constitutional provisions affirming same.
The Union in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. Paul Ella and Secretary, Ms. Rafat Salami, declared in the unanimous decision taken by its congress that the ongoing detention is unconstitutional and unjustifiable.
“The detention of Tony Ezimakor by the DSS since February 28, is unconstitutional and unjustifiable. The DSS should release him forthwith or charge him to court if it has any case against him”, the NUJ said.
The Union further frowned on the intimidation and harassment of journalists by the DSS and other security agencies, noting “with dismay attempts by the DSS and other security agencies of the Federal Government to stifle freedom of expression, and violate provisions of the 1999 Constitution”, and urged the federal government to refrain from such undemocratic activities.
“As activities gain momentum towards the 2019 General Elections, the NUJ is alarmed by the body language, utterances and actions of DSS and other security agencies all aimed at obstructing section 22 of the 1999 Constitution and infringing upon the fundamental human rights of journalists in the country. The DSS and other agencies of the Federal Government should desist forthwith from further harassment and intimidation of journalists in the course of the constitutional assignments’’, the union maintained.
Upon further deliberations on the detentions of Ezimakor without being arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction, the NUJ urged the DSS to apply due process in its actions by concluding investigations before making arrests rather than making arrests before making investigations.