By Lawal A. Dogara, Kaduna
Another bloody scene was once against witnessed in Kaduna as thugs invaded the Secretariat of Nigerian Union of Journalists.
The thugs stormed the NUJ premises as Senators Shehu Sani and Suleiman Hunkuyi were about to hold a press conference.But as the mayhem was unleashed, the two lawmakers, like the journalists had to run for dear life.The senators escaped
But the invasion left in its trail destruction of vehicles and attacks on journalists, and their gadgets.
Sunday’s event has expectedly stirred a lot of outrage with the national secretariat of the NUJ being the most outspoken against the descent to anarchy in the land and suppression of press freedom.
The National Secretary of Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Shuaibu Usman Leman fumed in a statement thus: “Kaduna is ingloriously attaining notoriety as the deadliest state for Journalists in Nigeria to operate with harassment of Journalists and increased repression of press freedom. As professionals whose responsibility is to monitor governance and hold Government accountable to the masses, Journalists now live in perpetual fear of being arrested by security operatives or attacked by faceless assailants without any just cause.”
He noted that press freedom is key to achieving credible democracy. The National Secretary of NUJ said “freedom includes the right to seek and receive information from all available sources to enable formulation of proper opinions to whomsoever one desires and to do so through whichever means it is feasible to communicate. Such attacks we believe are meant to curtail such freedoms.”
The Statement explained that “in the light of these unabated attacks and intimidation on Journalists, we call once more on the Police and other Agents of the State, to immediately prioritize issues of security and safety of Journalists not only in Kaduna State but throughout the country as critical components of their programs.”
“Political thugs sponsored by some dangerously reckless members of a political party invaded the Press Centre, venue of a Press briefing by some APC members of the National Assembly and attacked both Journalists and politicians, destroying media equipment and inflicting bodily harm on some Journalists,” the statement said.
Also commenting on the attack Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai said that nobody will be allowed to stifle freedom of expression. In a message to the Kaduna State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, the government condemned the mob action by hoodlums at the premises of the NUJ on Sunday.
Having been briefed on the situation, the governor expressed sympathy with The NUJ and the persons that were harassed by the hoodlums. The Governor directed that the security agencies should investigate and take necessary action against the hoodlums. The Governor also directed security agencies to beef up security at the NUJ secretariat to protect journalists doing their duty.
A statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to the Governor said that “the media must not be hindered from carrying out their constitutional and professional obligations. The government of Kaduna State upholds the principles of free speech and respects the freedom of expression.
“Politics should not be a desperate game. And desperation should not be visited on journalists or any citizen.”