The Bauchi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Wednesday, called for the immediate and unconditional release of the two of its members, Haruna Mohammed and Kamal Idris both working with WikkiTimes, a digital paltform in the state.
Mohammed, the publisher of WikkiTimes alongside Kamal, his reporter, were invited on Monday by the police. The invitation was in respect of a petition filed against the medium. They would later be detained and harrassed in police custody from where they were charged to court yesterday.
The Chairman of the union in the state, Umar Sa’du, in a statement, demanded for the release of the two journalists to enable them to continue their professional work without let or hindrance.
He said the union has noticed with dismay, the way and manner in which some politicians connive with security operatives to intimidate and harass its members through various forms of threats and harassments.
Sa’du said NUJ is particularly worried over the recent arrest and detention of the publisher of WikkiTimes, Haruna Mohammed and his reporter Kamal Idris based on a petition by a member of the National Assembly from the state, Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi and reiterated its determination to ensure that Journalists in the state work according to best practices and by adhering strictly to the Code of Ethics for Nigerian Journalists.
His words: “Our Union will not tolerate a situation where politicians who have issues to hide use security operatives to perpetrate acts of impunity against Journalists. It is in this respect that we condemn in the strongest of terms the arrest and detention of the two Journalists in question because of their professional work.
“NUJ is willing at all times to engage aggrieved individuals or groups in dialogue to resolve any perceived acts of professional breaches by members of the Union in a manner that will be acceptable to both parties.”
WilkiTimes had published a story about how Hussaini Musa Gwaba, chairman of the All Progressives, received a series of death threats prior to his death in a Bauchi hotel. However, Insiders told WikkiTimes that Yakubu Abdullahi, the member of the House of Representatives representing Bauchi Central Constituency was not happy about the emergence of Gwaba as the party’s chairman.
In response to the story, the lawmaker filed a petition at the Bauchi State Police Command and the police invited the publisher.
The police would later detained the publisher and one of his reporters that went to the police station with him.