The International Press Centre (IPC) in Lagos has expressed great concern about reports of attacks on journalists and other media professionals who were covering the governorship and House of Assembly elections on Saturday. The incidents were reported in various parts of the country, including Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers states.
According to IPC’s JOURNALISTS’ -ELECTION-DAY-SAFETY-ALERT-DESK, AIT reporters and cameramen, including Henrietta Oke, Amarachi Amushie, and Nkiru Nwokedi, were prevented from covering the elections at some polling units in Eti-Osa, Ifako-Ijaiye, and Amuwo Odofin local government areas by political thugs and hoodlums.
Journalist Nwokedi temporarily lost her phone, which was eventually recovered with the help of Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) men. Journalist Amushie was roughly handled, her camera was damaged, and the cameraman was beaten in the presence of a political chieftain.
The Alert Desk also reported that Arise TV News crew comprising Reporter Oba Adeoye, cameraman Opeyemi Adenihun, and driver Yusuf Hassan was attacked while covering voting in the Elegushi area of Lagos. The cameraman, Opeyemi Adenihun, suffered facial injuries while drones and equipment were seized.
In Ogun State, News Agency of Nigeria’s reporter, Adejoke Adeleye, was among journalists who were molested in Itori Odo Area of Abeokuta South Local government. There, they faced a mob attack by political thugs who also reportedly assaulted INEC officials with axes and allegedly destroyed ballot boxes.
Additionally, some “overzealous police officers” denied access to journalists who were trying to capture voting in the polling unit of the PDP Governorship candidate in Rivers State despite proof of identity provided by the journalists.
IPC strongly condemns these unacceptable attacks, which violate the fundamental rights of the affected journalists and media workers and constitute a major assault on press freedom.
Melody Lawal, the Press Freedom and Safety Alert Desk Officer of IPC, stated that after the attacks on journalists during the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, they had called on the police, political parties, and all concerned to take measures to protect journalists on Saturday.
It is therefore worrisome that such attacks have been repeated. Mrs. Lawal called on security agencies to thoroughly investigate the various attacks and ensure that the perpetrators face the consequences of their illegal actions