The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria has condemned the various incidents of attacks on journalists by security operatives and political thugs during last weekend’s presidential and national assembly elections.
IPC said its monitoring of media coverage of the elections revealed that the following violation of journalists’ rights and press freedom occurred between Saturday and Sunday:
- Perez Brisibe of Vanguard newspapers and some other journalists were assaulted by suspected political thugs at the Ughelli office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC in Delta State while being barred from monitoring the collation of results
- Imani Joe-Adeniyi, Channels TV Correspondent; Saviour Etim Asuquo, Channels TV Cameraman; Tina Todo, The Guardian newspaper reporter and others were reportedly stopped and molested by men of the Nigeria Police in Calabar, Cross River State on their way to the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to obtain updates on the collation of election results.
- A private radio station, Unity FM and some of the journalists were attacked by some youths from Anguwan Rogo and Zinaria in Jos North LGA of Plateau State over an alleged offensive live programme
Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said the attacks were unbecoming and certainly not acceptable more so as the journalists were carrying out legitimate professional duty during the elections.
“The fundamental rights of the concerned journalists and media institutions were violently violated and we hereby call on them to immediately seek appropriate legal redress”, Mr. Arogundade said.
He called on the police authorities, other law enforcement agencies and the leadership of the political parties to enlighten their men and members on the important role of the media during elections which requires that the freedom of journalists should not be tampered with.
“In particular we are again appealing to the Police authorities to consider the guarantee of the safety of journalists as one their scared duties during elections”, Mr. Arogundade said.
IPC also called for the immediate release of two Al-Jazeera Journalists, Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Ali, who according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) have been confined to Sutus Hotel, Maiduguri by Nigerian military authorities since Tuesday March 24, 2015.