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NUJ Regrets Attacks on Journalists During Elections

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Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) regrets that some Nigerian Security Personnel and Politicians have learned little about good conduct during elections, as attacks on voters and journalists during Saturday’s general election across the country still persist.

In a statement on Sunday by the Union’s National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, Walin Shadalafiya said specifically, the Union expresses serious concern by the conduct of Policemen in Port Harcourt who assaulted a journalist and political thugs in Ibadan, Oyo State who attacked voters, including Journalists.

According to the statement, the incidents were recorded by the NUJ Election Situation Room at the Union’s National Secretariat, Abuja that a reporter with The PUNCH, Gbenga Oloniniran was on Saturday afternoon arrested by policemen near the residence of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State in Rumuiprikon, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.

“He was brutalized by the policemen for attempting to take their pictures when they were assaulting a male voter at a polling unit close to Governor Wike’s polling unit at Wimpey Junction, Rumuepirikom, Port Harcourt, and Rivers State.

“In another sad incident, a vehicle belonging to the News Agency of Nigeria crew members on election duty around the Liberty area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital was among vehicles attacked by youths who were allegedly protesting bad governance in the country.”

Reacting while considering the preliminary report from the NUJ Election Situation Room in Abuja, the NUJ President, Comrade Chris Isiguzo expresses worry that at this crucial time of transition, Policemen still vent their anger on Journalists while some politicians continue to devise dubious ways and means of trying to disrupt the political process.

According to Comrade Isiguzo, journalists take great personal and professional risks to collect, process and disseminate news and information to millions of citizens, yet some security operatives and some unscrupulous political Actors continue to plot evil against media professionals and their equipment.

The Union, he says will not accept this ugly trend where the number of journalists that suffer various acts of impunity across the country and attacks on media equipment and facilities increase during elections.

Attacks like these, Comrade Isiguzo notes pose a great danger to democracy.

He, therefore, calls on the Inspector General of Police and other Security Chiefs to come out with a better and more sustainable strategy for securing Journalists while on election duties.

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