…urge Ondo Govt to take necessary action
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Ondo State Council has condemned unwarranted brutality of Engineer Jide Bello, a Staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Akure by soldiers deployed to enforce dusk to dawn curfew declared by the State government to stop spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
In a Press Statement signed by the NUJ State Chairman, Adetona Aderoboye and the State Secretary, Leke Adegbite, the Pen Union described the barbaric act by the men of the Nigerian Army as unacceptable, inhuman and condemnable.
“it is worrisome that there was an increase in the harassment of journalists and other media workers by security agents since Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu declared dusk to dawn curfew in Ondo state on 13th April, 2020.
“Sadly, this ugly situation is coming despite clear directives by President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu that media professionals are part of essential workers who are crucial in the war against coronavirus pandemic globally,” the statement read.
Ondo NUJ also noted with dismay that security agents in the state failed to know that COVID-19 pandemic can not be brought under control without huge contributions of journalists who monitor, report and enlighten the public about activities of individuals and government on the disease.
Information gathered by our Union in the last few days revealed that several journalists and other media professionals faced one form of harassment or the other in the hands of security agents stationed within Akure metropolis since the curfew was declared.
The Union therefore called on all concerned security agencies especially Nigerian Army to carry out immediate investigations with a view to sanctioning the erring soldiers who perpetrated the attacks against the NTA staff (Jide Bello), apologize to him and pay medical bills of the victim. This is to forestall recurrence of this type of sad incident.
Ondo NUJ also charged the ondo state government as well as Heads of security agencies particularly the state Commissioner of Police and the Commander of Nigerian Army, Owena Cantonment, Akure to educate their men deployed for COVID-19 curfew assignments on the importance of media workers to the fight against the pandemic and other constitutional responsibilities of journalists worldwide.
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Similarly, The Radio Television Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) has described as unpalatable information that a member of its Union, Engr Jide Bello of NTA Akure was descended upon by a personnel of Nigerian Army in Owena Barracks, Akure for allegedly breaching the Covid 19 Curfew as imposed by the State Governor.
Sunday Egbukuyomi, Secretary Ondo RATTAWU in a statement made available to newsmen in Akure expressed displeasure over the treatment of her union member.
“As members of RATTAWU Ondo State Chapter, we are saddened that a soldier in this century couldn’t figure out what NTA means and arrogantly refused to listen to his victim’s explanation of being an essential worker.
“As a union whose mandate is to protect the interest of its members, we condemn in strong terms this breach of the fundamental rights of one of our members who in the course of carrying out his lawful duty.
“It is in the light that we demand appropriate sanction on the brute that brutalised our innocent member as the zombie’s (sic) action remains strange and barbaric.
“We are equally sad to remind the military in Ondo State that one of them brought Covid-19 to our peaceful State as the index case is from them.
“We are using this medium to appeal to our numerous members in the State to remain calm in the face of this unwarranted provocation, the statement read.