NUJ blasts DSS over harassment of journalists at trial of Igboho supporters
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the federal capital territory (FCT) has called on the Department of State Services (DSS) to stop harassing journalists in the course of their duties.
This was stated by the council on Monday after the secret police prevented some reporters from covering the trial of some supporters of Sunday Adeyemo, a youth leader better known as Sunday Igboho.
A photojournalist with the Vanguard newspapers identified as Oluwagbemiga Olamilekan was allegedly manhandled by DSS operatives during the fracas.
VIDEO: DSS bars journalists from covering Igboho’s supporters trial pic.twitter.com/79eqCtRINj
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Chairman of the FCT NUJ, Emmanuel Ogbeche via a statement said the action by the DSS is a threat to the rule of law and democracy.
“It is unfortunate to state that reporters and photojournalists were barred from covering the previous court session,” Ogbeche said.
“Council lamented that in recent time, violence against journalists has increased with the authorities directing aggression towards journalists especially in terms of harassment, arbitrary detentions of journalists covering events making most journalists to be concerned about their safety.
“It is worrisome that this is happening exactly one month after the NUJ launched a Five-Year-Review on press freedom in Nigeria starting from 2016 to 2021 where the report indicted state actors who have formed the habit of trying to gag the press always.
“The number of cases where security operatives use excessive force and violence against journalists has significantly increased over the years.
“Journalists are responsible in providing the public with objective news and any attempt to prevent them from covering public events is a clear violation of the citizen’s right to access information.
“Relevant authorities must take all necessary measures to protect and ensure journalists’ safety on duty.
“The use of excessive force by the security operatives against those who are exercising their fundamental rights such as press freedom and holding government accountable to the people cannot be met with constant intimidation.”