Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Information, Mr. Raji Lateef (left), receiving a letter of protest from the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Chairman, Mr. Deji Elumoye, in Lagos, yesterday.
Nigerian journalists protest continuous assault
By Abdul Semiu Babalola, Lagos
Journalists in the commercial city of Lagos, South west Nigeria, have staged a protest against the continuous assault of newsmen.
The journalists carried placards with inscription that read: ‘Enough of all these Assaults’, 'We must resist these brutality’ and ‘We demand Justice’, among others.
Led by the chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos state council, the protesters walked from their secretariat at Iyalla street in Ikeja, to the Lagos State government house-a distance of about three kilometres, chanting solidarity songs condemning the brutal treatment unleashed on their colleagues.
Speaking at the government house, the NUJ council chairman, Mr Deji Elumoye, said journalists have been harassed, assaulted and brutalised in the course of performing their constitutional role of informing, educating and making public officials accountable to the people.
Mr. Elumoye, while urging the government to act decisively on the issue and improve the security situation in the state, called on the people to see journalists as friends, not enemies.
Incidence of brutality
Last Thursday, a photo-journalist with the private owned, Leadership newspaper, Mr Benedict Uwalaka was assaulted at the premises of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
Mr Uwalaka, suffered grievous injuries as bottles, knives and sticks were used on him, injuring his eyes.
His offence was that he took pictures of the remains of the Dana aircraft crash victims at the morgue.
On Monday of this week, a former photo-editor of Compass Newspaper, Mr.Tunde Ogundeji, was also beaten up by some aggrieved passengers at the Railway station in Ikeja. He was left with a deep cut on his head.
His assailants accused him of taking pictures of passengers seating on top of a train at the Ikeja railway station.
The Special Assistant on Information and Strategy to the Governor, Mr Lateef Raji, while receiving the protesting journalists, said one of the assailants had been arrested and gave assurance that others involved will be arrested and prosecuted.
He said as a form of solidarity, the government has volunteered to provide free legal counsels for and pay the medical bills of the journalists.
Mr Raji dismissed the notion that there were calculated designs to humiliate journalists in the state, stressing that newsmen remained important elements that have critical roles to play and should not be harassed, intimidated and assaulted