The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, has decried the attack on Anayo Onukwugha, a journalist of Leadership Newspaper who was beaten to stupor by a soldeir in Port Harcourt, River State.
Anayo, a Port Harcourt correspondent of Leadership Newspaper according to reports, was assaulted at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Rivers State, by a soldier believed to have been drafted from the Presidency on the day President Mohhamadu Buhari visited to commission the International Wing of the airport.
It was reported that a soldier who was not wearing his name-tag, descended heavily on Anayo, beated him and he was hospitalized as a result of the injuries sustained from the attack.
Recounting his ordeal, Anayo said, “They (soldiers) were pushing back the crowd that came for the event and I identified myself to the soldier as a journalist. But that did not mean anything to him as he began to hit my legs with a stick.”
Though the reporter has been discharged, he is still ill and nursing pains.
Speaking on the assault, IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade lamented the continuous and degrading attacks of journlaists by security personnel.
He said, “Journalists are professionals carrying out their duties as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We find this situation unacceptable and condemn a situation where security operatives attack journalists.”
Arogundade demanded that the Nigeria military immediately set up a panel to probe the attack while ensuring that the perpetrator be made to face the consequences.
“We therefore call on the military authorities to probe this attack and allow the perpetrator to face the consequences of his actions”, Arogundade said.
Similarly, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, also spoke to condemn the attack on Anayo.
A statement by Ike Wigodo, Secretary, NUJ Rivers Council berated the brutalization of the journalist and urged the military to fetch out the officer who assaulted Anayo.