Following recurring assaults on journslists at public functions by the men of the Bauchi state command of the Nigeria police, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has directed all media organizations in the state to suspend coverage of all police activities in the state.
The union gave the directive in a press release signed by the state chairman Umar Sa’id and secretary Isah Garba Gadau issued at the end of its emergency meeting that held on Friday.
Blueprint reports that the meeting was convened as a result of the attack on the reporter of African Independent Television (AIT) in Bauchi Nagari Damina Yusuf by the police special squad while he was covering an official assignment.
“Bauchi Council of the Nigeria union of Journalists, NUJ, has noted with dismay, uncivilized manner of the Nigeria Police in adopting brutality as part of its tradition especially against the Journalists.
“The union condemned in strong terms the negative action of the Rapid Response Squad of the State Police command that molested and injured one of its member, Damina Yusuf of the AIT on Thursday 30th July, 2021 while covering students protest at the Bauchi College of Agriculture, Yelwa who was later admitted at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi.
“Based on this barbaric act of the police, the union has directed its members to suspend with immediate effect, coverage of all activities of the police in the state until the perpetrators of the act are fished out and prosecuted in addition to the proper payment of compensation and settlement of medical bills of the victim”. The union posited.
According to the NUJ leaders, the way and manner in which members of the Nigeria Police from Bauchi command that always claims to be partners of the journalists in progress, brutalised, molested and harassed the AIT reporter and seized his camera, laptop computer, microphone with AIT logo, mobile phones, modem and wallet containing substantial amount of money among other belongings is barbaric.
The NUJ called on the Bauchi state government to consider the establishment of a standing panel of inquiry to hear cases of security brutality against citizens in the state.
Nuj recalled that this is the fifth time in the last one year that journalists were brutalised by policemen while carrying out their legitimate duties in the state.