© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
It is heart-rending, NUJ saddened over Ogbu’s death, demands justice
WORRIED by the continued victimsation and gruesome killings of journalists, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, FCT Council, has expressed sadness at the death of Mr. Alex Ogbu, demanding a full investigation and justice into the circumstances leading to his tragic death.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the NUJ FCT said it seems to have become a pattern for journalists covering protest in Abuja to be targeted resulting in tragic outcomes.
According to findings by the Council, the late Ogbu was felled by a stray bullet during a clash between the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shi’ites and Police in Abuja on Tuesday.
Two other persons sustained gunshot wounds during the protest that ended in chaos.
Expressing his sadness and disappointment by the ways journalists have become a target in course of executing their duty, Chairman of the council, Emmanuel Ogbeche said, it is heart-rending to know that yet another journalist was felled in this seeming unending orgy of bloodletting in Abuja and other parts of the country.
“We at the NUJ are now asking if this is a pattern where journalists become victims in the legitimate pursuit of their profession as reporters?
“It is barely seven months now that Precious Owolabi with Channels TV was cut down in his prime, only for Ogbu to die in a senseless manner.
“We demand that the FCT Police Command commences investigation into this death, one too many, and ensure that the officer(s) involved in this killing faces the full weight of the law.
The police should know that any investigation without the inclusion of the union and National Human Rights Commission will amount to an exercise in futility.
“The NUJ will hold the police hierarchy responsible if justice is not served in this matter. We will ensure that if the Nigerian State fails, as it has continued to demonstrate, we will explore diplomatic channels to ensure that those who harass, intimidate and kill any journalist under any guise to bear the brunt of such objectionable conduct,” the statement reads.
“A society that makes victims of journalists cannot make much progress as journalism thrives in an environment of safety, stability and sanctity of the rule of law,” Ogbeche said.
He also expressed the regret that Nigeria has become increasingly hostile to journalists and journalism, which he described as “counting hugely against Nigeria in the comity of nations.”
The NUJ chairman however, called on journalists to remember Mr. Ogbu and his young family in their prayers and urged them to consider their safety as paramount when covering protest, stressing that “no journalist should become the story.”
Ogbu until his death was a journalist with Regent Africa Times where he covered politics and was a critical voice in demanding good governance.