Shell Pays FG over $4.5bn in Royalties, Taxes, Others to Nigeria
Accidents: NMDPRA Plans Safety Audit of Operations in Downstream Oil, Gas Sector
Oil Service Firm, GPPSL, Mulls Expansion into Other African Countries
Elections: IPC Condemns Attacks on Journalists in Rivers, Lagos, Ogun, Demands Investigation
Wale Igbintade in Lagos, Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City and Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia
The International Press Centre (IPC) has condemned the attacks on journalists and other media professionals that covered yesterday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections in some parts of the country, including Lagos, Ogun and Rivers states.
In a statement issued yesterday by its Press Freedom Officer, Melody Lawal, the centre described the report of attacks on journalists as highly disturbing.
It urged the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the various attacks and ensure that the perpetrators face the consequences of their illegal and actions
The statement added that some journalists faced mob attacks by political thugs who equally reportedly assaulted INEC officials with axes and allegedly destroyed ballot boxes, while others were rough-handled and beaten in the presence of a political chieftain.
The statement read: “The International Press Centre (IPC) is highly disturbed by the reported incidents of attacks on journalists and other media professionals covering the governorship and House of Assembly elections in some parts of the country, including Lagos, Ogun and Rivers states.”
IPC’s Journalists’ Election-day-safety-alert-desk has confirmed that AIT Reporters and cameraman, including Henrietta Oke, Amarachi Amushie and Nkiru Nwokedi were molested and prevented from covering the elections at some polling units in Eti-Osa, Ifako-Ijaiye and Amuwo Odofin local government areas by political thugs and hoodlums.
“Journalist Nwokedi temporarily lost her phone before it was recovered with the help of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) men while Journalist Amushie was rough handled, her camera damaged and the cameraman beaten in the presence of a political chieftain.
“The Alert Desk also established that ARISE NEWS Channel’s crew comprising a Reporter, Oba Adeoye, Cameraman, Opeyemi Adenihun and driver, Yusuf Hassan was attacked while covering voting in Elegushi area of Lagos.
“The cameraman, Adenihun, suffered facial injuries, while drones and equipment were seized” according to the news medium.
“In Ogun State, a News Agency of Nigeria’s reporter, Adejoke Adeleye, was among journalists molested in Itori Odo Area of Abeokuta South Local Government Area where they faced mob attack by political thugs who equally reportedly assaulted INEC officials with axes and allegedly destroyed ballot boxes.
“The details also include the denial of access to journalists who tried to capture voting in the polling unit of PDP Governorship candidate in Rivers State by some “overzealous police officers”.
“The policemen refused passage despite the proof of identity provided by the journalists” the report from Rivers State stated
“IPC strongly condemns these unacceptable attacks which constitute both the violation of the fundamental rights of the affected journalists and media workers and major assault on press freedom.
“Following the attacks on journalists during the presidential and national Assembly elections on February 25, we had called on the Police, the Political Parties and all concerned to take measures to protect them today. It is therefore worrisome that such attacks have been repeated”, the Press Freedom and Safety Alert Desk Officer of IPC, Melody Lawal said in a statement.
Lawal charged the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the various attacks and ensure that the perpetrators face the consequences of their illegal actions.
Meanwhile, the operatives of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Nigeria Police yesterday abused and harassed journalists covering the elections in Edo and Nasarawa States.
While NSCDC brutalised the Head of News, Breeze FM Lafia, Edwin Philip in Lafia, Nasarawa State, a mobile police officer, identified as CSP Isah, threatened to arrest journalists carrying out their lawful election monitoring duty along Sapele Road, Benin, Edo State.
Recounting his experiences yesterday, Philips noted that NSCDC’s operatives abused and harassed him when he was performing his constitutional and legitimate role on election day.
In his response yesterday, Public Relations Officer, NSCDC Nasarawa State Command, Victor Jerry, confirmed the attack on journalists in Lafia.
In a statement by its Secretary, Mr. Sunday John yesterday, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Nasarawa State Council, condemned the attack on the Head of News of Breeze FM Lafia by NSCDC’s operatives.
The statement said NUJ received with shock and dismay, the attack on Philip while covering the governorship and House of Assembly Elections by officials of the NSCDC.
Also, in an argument with journalists yesterday, Isah said he was the second-in-command of the Mobile Police Division in the state, questioning why journalists would drive in a convoy during the election.
He further noted that they should have stayed in a place to do their job instead of the usual practice of moving around to get information to do their reports.
Despite the journalists showing Isah their Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) accreditation tags, he insisted they were on illegal duty since they did not have pass and police escort.
When he was told that journalists were free to move around on election day based on their job, he described them as “illiterates,” saying anybody could claim to be a journalist.
The journalists took exception to this statement, and cautioned the mobile police officer, who threatened to arrest a Vanguard Correspondent, Ozioruva Aliu.