17 August 2012

Nigeria: Assault On Leadership Journalist - NUJ Stages Protest Rally in Lagos

Photo: Vanguard
Protesting Union

As more journalists continue to fall victims of brutality in Lagos State, members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos Chapter, yesterday staged a peaceful protest to the office of the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to register their displeasure over the harassments of its members carrying out their duties.

Journalists in their large numbers thronged the Ladi Lawal Press Centre, Alausa, as early as 8am where the protest march began at about 10am.

The protest, led by the Lagos State NUJ Chairman, Deji Elumoye, and other officials of the union, moved from the Ladi Lawal Press Centre, through Awolowo Road, making a brief stop at the State House of Assembly before terminating at the State House, Ikeja.

The visibly enraged members of the pen profession carried placards and big banners, some of which bore the photographs of the bloodied faces of LEADERSHIP Newspapers photojournalist, Ben Uwalaka, and former photo editor of the Nigeria Compass, Tunde Ogundeji, who were manhandled and inflicted with severe injuries by overzealous mortuary attendants at the Lagos State University teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and thugs purportedly from the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) respectively.

Some of the placards had inscription like: 'Journalists Are Friends, Not Foes'; 'We Will No Longer Tolerate These Assaults'; We Demand Our Rights', 'Stop The Assaults', 'We Will Resist The Brutalities', amongst others.

The journalist, who chanted solidarity songs, demanded to meet the governor but were told by the security personnel at the gate that the governor was not around, however, assuring them that a representative will stand in for him.

Piqued by the delay, the journalists sat on the bare floor of the entrance to the State House and kept the protest alive, chanting songs while they waited for the government representative to attend to them.

After much delay, they barricaded preventing cars from exiting and entering the office, just as they demanded to be attended to by a representative of the governor.

The NUJ, Lagos chapter, which explained their mission to the Lagos House, Ikeja said, "We wrote a formal letter to the governor of the state that we would be coming here and he will receive us, and if he was not going to be around, there should be somebody to receive us.

"So the governor is aware of this protest and that is why we are here; we want to deliver a formal letter of protest cataloguing all the various harassment and protest and brutalization of our members."

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