THE International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria has expressed concern over the recent wave of attacks on journalists including those covering primaries of political parties.
The IPC in a statement issued on Wednesday June 1 by its Press Freedom Officer Melody Lawal, said its Safety of Journalists Alert Desk has documented about four recent attacks on press freedom by the police.
Listing the attacks, the statement said, “The shooting by the police of Toba Adedeji, the Osun State Correspondent of The Nation newspaper while covering a protest over alleged police brutality in Osogbo, the state capital on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. He was injured on the thigh and had to be treated in hospital.
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“The attack, harassment and beating by policemen of Yinka Adeniran, the Oyo State Correspondent of The Nation newspaper while covering the Peoples Democratic Party gubernatorial primary at Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan on the May 25, 2022.
“The attack by suspected political thugs on the vehicle conveying members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Osun State Council of NUJ on May 24th, 2022 while covering the campaign by the State Governor in Gbogan in Aiyedaade Local Government Area.
“The arrest of three journalists – Deborah Coker of News Agency of Nigeria, Sunny Inarumen of African Independent Television and Osamuyi Ogbomo, cameraman with Independent Television on May 24, 2022 in Benin, Edo State Capital, while covering a factional primary of the Peoples Democratic Party.”
The Centre stressed that the attacks signified a setback to press freedom and a return to the regime of repression of journalists and other media professionals in Nigeria, adding that such development constitutes grave danger for press freedom and freedom of expression.
“We condemn the attacks and demand the apprehension and trial of the alleged perpetrators so that justice can be served,” the statement added.
The IPC drew the attention of concerned authorities to the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage which requires them to grant access to journalists interested in covering political activities including primaries and provide measures to protect them from aggrieved party members or political thugs.
The Centre however enjoined the leadership of security agencies to urgently enlighten their officials on the need to accord respect and refrain from assaulting journalists covering political activities and other events of public interest.
The ICIR had recently reported the attack on a journalist with the Nation, Tina Adedeji who was shot in the leg while covering a peaceful protest in Osogbo, Osun state.
The ICIR gathered that Adedeji was shot alongside a teenager in Osogbo, the state capital, on Tuesday
The incident happened when a group of policemen were trying to disperse protesters who were demanding justice for one Abiola Afolabi, who was killed by the police in April.
Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M