By Joy Odor
The International Press Centre (IPC) Lagos-Nigeria has expressed extremely concerned about the attack on journalists in the convoy of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday June 19, 2022 in Lagos.
According to widely publicised reports, the ugly and bloody incident occurred in the aftermath of a visit to the palace of Oba Rilwan Akiolu by the APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was accompanied by the Lagos Governor.
The affected journalists, Adeola Ogunrinde and Omatseye Atsenuwa of Smooth 98.1FM, were severely injured, while Adedoja Salam of TVC was left in a state of shock.
Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said in a statement that the worst could have happened to the journalists and therefore charged both the Police and the Lagos State Government to bring the perpetrators to justice to serve as deterrent to those who may be planning similar attacks on journalists in the count down to the 2023 elections.
Arrest of Omoniyi
IPC also decried the arrest and detention of Jeremiah Omoniyi, a campus journalist who was deployed by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) to cover the Ekiti governorship poll.
Omoniyi was arrested and taken away by the DSS during the polls on Saturday June 18, 2022 for allegedly recording a video of a brawl involving party agents at a polling unit in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government area in the state.
Mr. Arogundade said the conduct of the DSS operatives amounted to undue harassment and obstruction of a professional journalist on legitimate election duty.
According to him, the leadership of the DSS and other security agencies should sensitize their officers on election duty that there is no law preventing journalists from covering, recording and reporting incidents on Election Day.
“It is also worth reminding all security agencies that the role of the media during electoral processes and elections is recognised by the constitution and the Electoral Act and any assault on any journalist or other media professional on electoral duty therefore means that the laws of the country are being undermined”, Mr. Arogundade said.
“The fact that the weekend attacks bring to more than 40 the number of dangerous and life threatening incidents involving journalists and other media professionals as documented by IPC’s Safety Alert Desk in the year 2022 alone underscores the need for such protection for journalists in Nigeria”, Mr. Arogundade said.
IPC said further that the Lagos and Ekiti incidents have again made it imperative for media owners, the political parties and the government to put in place mechanisms for the protection of journalists during campaigns and elections.