The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, has condemned in strong terms, the recent attacks on journalists in the state, especially in the course of their coverage of court proceedings.
In a statement that he signed and was made available to our news desk, Chairman of the Council, Comrade Festus Alenkhe said that “such attacks have been linked to supporters and loyalists of defendants in cases involving criminal charges in the various courts in Edo State.”
The union noted that journalists are constitutionally empowered to report activities of members of the public, as such report will give the people the opportunity to have idea of proceedings in the court.
While urging security agencies posted to court premises to provide some level of protection for journalists in the state, the union noted with dismay that such attacks have become so frequent recently.
Comrade Alenkhe cited the case of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) versus Roland Osaigbaikhoe Omo-Ogbebor, the former scepter bearer (Omuada) of the Oba of Benin at the Federal High Court , Ikpoba Hill, Benin City in which supporters and loyalists of the defendant almost destroyed the camera of journalists covering the court proceedings.
The union also cited the case involving one Johnson Atseruleghe (defendant) versus the Commissioner of Police at the High Court in Benin City where some journalists were attacked and threatened not to report the matter.
The union described the various attacks as barbaric and uncivilized.
According to the statement, “the union will no longer tolerate any such attack on its members performing their civic duty as it may resort to the law court to seek redress for its members.
“Any journalist who is under threat anywhere in the state while performing their official responsibility is expected to report such unwholesome conduct to the leadership of the union for immediate lawful action.”