The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Rivers State Council, has condemned in strong terms a recent attack on some Journalists by persons suspected to be hoodlums.
The NUJ alleged that nine Journalists reporting for different media organisations in the State including Rhythm 93.7 FM, Rivers State Television (RSTV), SweetCrude, Sahara Reporters,Wish FM, Today FM and Arise TV, were attacked in the presence of Anti-cultism Squad of the Rivers State Police Command on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at the new airport road before OPM, Rumuagholu in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area where they had gone for a press briefing.
The Union described the attack as unfortunate, barbaric and criminal, adding that under no circumstance should Journalists on legitimate duties be attacked by anybody.
The NUJ in a statement signed by its Chairman, Stanley Job Stanley and Secretary, Ike Wigodo respectively, said the alleged attack on the nine Journalists by hoodlums before the very eyes and in the presence of security agents portends ominous dangers to the safety and security of lives of practicing Journalists and residents of the State.
The statement said the said Journalists were allegedly attacked, beaten and wounded, while their property were carted away by the arm-bearing hoodlums.
“Some of the items allegedly looted, according to reports reaching NUJ, include; nine smart phones, two cameras, one HDV Soni and Canon and their accessories, audio recorder, wrist watches, two medicated eye glasses as well as physical cash.”
The Council also frowned at the arrest and detention of two of the Journalists- Uchendu Ejiowhor of Today’s FM and Aham Chijioke of Sahara Reporters- by the Anti-cultism Squad, only to be later released on the intervention of the NUJ leadership.
“We wonder why the Anti-cultism Squad of the Rivers State Police Command would arrest and detain Journalists who were attacked, beaten and wounded by hoodlums, instead of protecting them, while allowing the hoodlums to have a field day. This is strange.”
“We had expected the security agents to rise in defence of the nine Journalists at the scene of the attack, and arrest and prosecute the hoodlums. Unfortunately, the reverse was the case”, the statement stated.
The NUJ, therefore, appealed to the Rivers State Police Command to always defend and protect Journalists on lawful duties, while also ensuring that the hoodlums involved in the barbaric attack are fished out for prosecution.
The statement also warned that any further assault on Journalists in the State either by security agents or hoodlums would be vehemently resisted by the NUJ.