Lawyer Decries Incessant Attacks on Journalists by Security Personnel

A Lokoja-based lawyer, Mr Joel Usman, on Friday decried the incessant attacks by security men, on journalists carrying out their legitimate duties.
“The frequency of attacks on journalists by the security personnel is becoming alarming; such attacks are particularly bad because they are unprovoked and without any cause,” Usman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lokoja.
He urged the federal and state governments, and other stakeholders to “do everything possible to put an end to these needless attacks”.
“Government must educate security agencies to see journalists as people authorised to carry out legitimate functions. Security men must be told that newsmen are an integral part of the development process,” Usman said.
He decried a situation where even thugs were sent after the newsmen covering routine assignments, and wondered why journalists should be the target of such violence.
“From recent reports, more than 1,000 journalists have been killed worldwide since 1995.
“My worry is not even the killings. My anger is that none of the killers has ever been investigated, prosecuted and punished to deter others,” he said.
He recalled two instances of such attacks in Kaduna and Kogi States last month, and expressed shock that no one was ever arrested over the incidents.
Usman challenged governments at all levels to adopt proactive measures to curb the menace.
The lawyer, however, advised journalists to be bold, courageous, and fearless and never be deterred by the attacks.
“Journalists must continue to do their job with dignity and decency; they should never compromise because the society needs the media to forge on,” he said.
Mr Adeiza Jimoh, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kogi Chapter, who also decried incessant attacks on newsmen in Nigeria, appealed to government to adopt stringent measures to check the trend.
“Government controls the security apparatus; it must protect newsmen carrying out their legitimate duties,” he said.
He traced most of the attacks to overzealous security personnel, and urged those in authority to caution such officers.
“For the world to function well and for our democracy to thrive, journalists must be protected to do their work. Society has a right to know the truth, so those expected to perform that role should be allowed to do so freely,” he said.