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IPC condemns attack on two journalists by security operatives in Abuja

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THE International Press Centre (IPC) has denounced the attack by security operatives on two journalists, Friday Olokor, a senior reporter with The Punch Newspaper, and Patience Ihejirika of the Leadership Newspapers, in Abuja.

The journalists were physically assaulted as they tried to gain access to M & M Events Centre in Abuja, to cover the ongoing African Women Conference organised by the Development Research and Projects Centre (DRPC) with the support of the Ford Foundation.

While Olokor was physically manhandled, Ihejirika had her phone seized and vital videos deleted to ensure she did not record the assault on Olokor.

In a statement issued on Friday, IPC Executive Director Lanre Arogundade described the attack as an affront to the fundamental human rights of the journalists.

“This detestable act is very worrisome and totally against the fundamental human rights of Olokor and Ihejirika who identified themselves as journalists,” he said.

Arogundade described continuous attacks on journalists in Nigeria as particularly worrisome, especially when the perpetrators were security operatives whose main function was to protect lives and property

The IPC applauded the Assistant Director of the DSS in Abuja who reportedly apologised to Olokor with a promise that the security personnel involved would be made to face the consequences of their actions.

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According to data obtained from Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 34 attacks were launched on journalists in Nigeria between 1992 and 2021.

A breakdown reveals that 12 journalists were killed while 22 were imprisoned. Eight of those killed were murdered, with three dying on dangerous assignments. Another one was killed in a crossfire.

IPC is Nigeria’s foremost media capacity development organisation that seeks to promote freedom of expression and human rights on the continent through advocacy and campaigns to ensure the protection of its members and other free expression groups.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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