Edo NUJ gives APC 7 days ultimatum to apologise over attack on journalists

The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has given the All Progressives Congress (APC) seven days to tender unreserved apology to the Union for assaulting its members or be prepared for a war with the media.

Chairman of the Edo State Council, Comrade Festus Alenkhe, disclosed this on Sunday in Benin, while reading the decision of the national leadership of the Union over the attack on journalists who were covering the primary election of the party on Saturday.

Several journalists were attacked and beaten, while their equipment were destroyed by members of a faction of the party at Lushville Hotel, venue of the collation of the gubernatorial primaries.

Also, a laptop belonging to a journalist – Abraham Godwin – who works with the Arise TV was smashed in the presence of the security personnel at the centre.

Alenkhe described the attack on journalists, who were legitimately covering the electioneering process, as a show of shame.

He said: “The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council met at the directive of the national leadership and we have resolved as follows:

“That the NUJ, Edo State Council, is fully ready to declare a media war against the All Progressives Congress if the following things are not meant.

“That APC, Edo State, is expected to replace all the damaged equipment of journalists that were covering the event on the 17th day of February, 2024, pay medical bills of journalists injured during the attack, apologize to the NUJ at both state and national [levels] over the attack where journalists were manhandled, and their equipment destroyed, where journalists were also prevented from carrying out their legitimate duty.

“This, Edo NUJ Council describes as unacceptable and we condemn this act heavily.

“The Commissioner of Police in Edo State, should help fish out all those who were responsible for the attack and ensure that they are prosecuted because the report says that some of them are very known as they never wore masks.

“We want to request very strongly that the management of the Hotel where the incident happened, should make available to us the CCTV footage of the incident and this should be made public and also help the police in their investigations.

“We want to also call on the management of the Hotel to ensure that this footage will be used by us and also be given to the police where some of those who have carried out that act will be arrested and prosecuted.

“Lastly, we want to say that the Edo State election coming up in September 2024 is not a do-or-die [affair]. I therefore direct all journalists to cover it.”

Alenkhe urged other political parties yet to conduct their primaries to ensure adequate security at the various locations, calling on the police, DSS, NSCDC, and other security agencies to ensure the safety of all journalists.

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