By Time Nigeria
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council condemns in its strongest terms, the unwarranted assault on a Photo journalist with Daily Trust newspapers, Mr. Ikechukwu Ibe by an Army Captain. Ibe was carrying out a legitimate assignment of news gathering on Thursday October 26, 2017 at Jabi area of Abuja.
This is contained in a statement issued and signed by the Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, FCT Council, Rafatu Salami.
According to the statement, “Journalist Ibe was brutally assaulted leaving him with multiple lacerations and swollen eyes. Curiously, the overzealous military officers confiscated his camera, removed and destroyed the memory card just because he took some pictures of a vehicle that ran into a restaurant in Jabi.”
It further stated that the Union was disheartened over the ugly incident. “Rather than treat journalists as partners in nation building, security agents have consistently treated journalists as enemies who must be crushed.
“More saddening is the fact that the assault took place just as Nigeria is preparing to commemorate the “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists” on November 2.”
This is unacceptable in a civilised and democratic nation where the Rule of Law must be allowed to thrive. It is a clear case of gross violation of the rights of the journalist.
According to Ibe: “When I got there at about 3:00pm, I introduced myself to the security men on ground and told them I would like to take some pictures”. It said.
According to the statement, Ibe said, “when he started taking the pictures, the Army Captain, who wore a camouflage without a name tag and part of the Joint Ministerial Taskforce which included men of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), pounced on him and started beating him up without provocation.
“They collected my camera, broke it and took my memory card which contained the photos that I had taken. They also tore my clothes before bundling me into a Black Maria where I met six other persons. I later put a call across to my photo editor and the Daily Trust Editor, who brought a pair of trousers to me at the Life Camp Police station where I was taken to.
My editors later secured my release and my broken camera was handed back to me without the memory card. However, my Identity card and N3,700 cash in my pocket were not returned,” he said.
NUJ however call on government to bring the perpetrators of the dastard act on this law abiding citizen, who was only doing his job to book, immediately replace his camera,
adequately compensate Mr Ibe for the brutalization meted on him as well as tender an unreserved apology from the highest authority while putting up machineries to prevent future incidences . The statement concluded.