The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos has decried the attacks on no fewer than five journalists and media practitioners during the Presidential and National Assembly elections which held on Saturday February 23, 2019.
The IPC in a press release signed by Melody Akinjiyan, IPC’s safety Alert Desk Officer, noted that the information gathered by IPC’s media and election situation room revealed that not less than five journalists and media professionals faced one form of harassment or the other including arrest, denial of access to collation centres and gunshot injury.
Among the victims of the attack on Saturday are; Nwanosike Onu of The Nation, Geoffrey Anyanwu of Sun, David-Chyddy Eleke of THISDAY, Vincent Ujumadu of Vanguard and Tony Okafor of Punch who were arrested by a team of fully armed police officers close to the residence of Mr. Peter Obi (Vice Presidential Candidate, PDP), in Anambra where they had gone to cover him during the voting exercise.
“Also documented is the shooting of Reginald Dei, a government house photographer at his residence by unidentified armed men who were said to be in military uniform at Oweikorogha, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. It is believed that he is in critical condition.
“The report also showed that some groups of journalists were barred from monitoring results collation in Ugheli North, Delta State; Amuwo/Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State; Bauchi and Kebbi State”, Akinjiyan explained.
In his reaction, the IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said: “The various attacks on journalists during the general elections are condemnable as they also affect the credibility of the electoral process.
He stressed that, “the rights of journalists to monitor and report election day activities are constitutionally guaranteed and recognized by various regulatory frameworks such as, the Electoral Act, the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage and therefore should be respected”
Arogundade therefore called on the security agencies and INEC to carry out appropriate investigations with a view to prosecuting or sanctioning the alleged perpetrators of the attacks against the concerned journalists and media professionals.