Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on the Federal Government (FG) and relevant law enforcement and security agencies to investigate the attempted abduction of the Abuja Correspondent of The Guardian newspaper, Mr Oludare Richards.
In a press statement signed by MRA’s Program Director, My Ayode Longe, it was noted that Mr Richards is reported to have gone into hiding following an encounter with unknown men whom he suspects to be security agents whom he alleges attempted to abduct him.
According to the journalist, while he was returning to his house in Abuja, a black Hyundai bus drove toward him, obviously trying to cut him off, and two men jumped down from the vehicle and chased after him as he ran.
“I was able to escape with the help of a body spray with which he was able to prevent them from catching him. As a result of his fear that the would-be abductors might be security agents, he did not report the incident at the police station and has also gone into hiding rather than returning home, Mr Richard said.”
Mr Longe called on the Federal Government and the relevant law enforcement and security agencies to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and ensure no harm befall Mr Richards.
Mr Longe harped on the frequent practice by law enforcement, security and intelligence agents of abducting journalists, human rights activists and other citizens on the streets or in their homes without following proper and lawful arrest procedures.
“This has made it difficult for citizens to distinguish between criminals, including kidnappers, attacking them and law enforcement officials seeking to arrest them, he said.”
Mr Longe further called on the Federal Government to put an end to such practice by providing law enforcement officials with appropriate training about lawful arrest procedures and taking drastic action against those who conduct unlawful or improper arrests.
“The lawless and sometimes criminal behaviour of many law enforcement agents makes it difficult for law-abiding citizens, including journalists, to know whether falling into their hands is any less dangerous than falling into the hands of plain criminals.
“This has made the terrain for journalism practice doubly treacherous for journalists in an environment of widespread insecurity where they are frequently under attack from criminals, supposed members of law enforcement agencies and other government officials, all of them behaving the same way and employing the same tactics.”
Mr Longe reminded the Nigerian authorities that it has a constitutional responsibility and an international treaty obligation to ensure the safety of its citizens and thereafter tasked the Government to live up to its responsibility.