The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos has once again condemned reported incidents of attacks on journalists and other media professionals during the Governorship and State Assembly elections held on Saturday, March 9, 2019.
IPC Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said: "It was particularly worrisome that there was an increase in the attacks on journalists during the Governorship and State Assembly elections when compared with the Presidential and Senatorial elections which held two weeks ago. This is despite calls by IPC and other media groups on electoral stakeholders and security agencies to ensure a safe environment for journalists to carry out their responsibilities during the elections."
He said further that, "The rights of journalists to monitor and report election activities as guaranteed by various regulatory frameworks such as the Electoral Act, the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage have not been respected as expected."
The IPC Director, therefore, called on all concerned security agencies and INEC to carry out immediate investigations with a view to prosecuting or sanctioning the alleged perpetrators of the attacks against the concerned journalists and media professionals.
Information gathered by IPC's media and election situation room revealed that several journalists and media professionals faced one form of harassment or the other including physical assault, abduction, denial of access to cover election proceedings, etc.
The details of these incidents include:
Over 250 duly accredited journalists were ordered to be barred by the Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC from accessing the premises and covering election events in the commission. Only those whose names were in a different list put together by the commission were given access to cover election events.
Collins Ossai of Channels television was barred by political thugs from covering the elections in Central Primary School, Iruekpe, Esan Central Local Government Area, Edo state.
BBC Africa Pidgin Reporter, Ajoke was slapped by a politician, Segun Adewale over her coverage of vote buying at Pleasure bus stop polling booth, near Lagos - Abeokuta expressway.
About 15 thugs attacked Benjamin Alade of The Guardian while he took pictures and video of protesting National Youth Corp members, who were owed allowances at a collation centre situated at the Community Primary School in Idimu area of Lagos.
Amos Tauna of Daily Post and a group of journalists were physically assaulted close to Zonkwa police station by political thugs in Kaduna state while covering the irregularities being perpetrated by the politicians and their thugs. Their phones, cameras and other personal belongings were seized and destroyed.
Kunle Sanni, a Premium Times journalist was abducted by political thugs for taking pictures of alleged underage voters at a polling unit of Governor Simon Lalong in Plateau state. He was later released after he was forced to delete the pictures.
Soldiers at ORO3, Union bank formation in Damaturu, Yobe state, confiscated journalists' car and kept them hostage for hours. The journalists are Musa Mingye of Blueprint and Hamisu Kabir Matazu of Daily Trust, who were using their personal vehicles with INEC approved sticker, INEC's reflective jackets, INEC issued Identification cards and company's ID cards. The heavily-armed military men threatened to resort to brutality if the journalists insisted on leaving the location to continue their election duty.
Safety Alert Desk Officer, IPC
House 11, Dideolu Court, 2nd gate b/stop, Ogba Lagos