Journalists protest against rising political violence, attack on colleagues
MEMBERS of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Chapter Monday staged a peaceful protest against the rising political violence in the state and attacks on journalists by politicians and their agents.
The protesters displaying various placards had at about 8a.m. gathered at the premises of its temporary office at the Tide Newspaper Corporation, where they took off from and marched through to the Government House, Port Harcourt, as well as, the State Police Command Headquarters at Moscow Road, Port Harcourt.
Some of the placards read: “Journalists in Rivers State say enough is enough to insecurity and election related violence”; “We are tired of Violent Politics”; “Allow journalists perform their constitutional functions”, “When you kill journalists, you kill society.
Others are; “Toy with journalists, toy with the future of the nation; “Journalism is a constitutionally recognized profession; “Rivers Journalists may be forced to boycott polls coverage if….”
The State Chairman of NUJ, Mr. Opaka Dokubo, while expressing the union’s grievances before the state government’s representative in front of Government House gate, Port Harcourt, said, journalists have a constitutional role to play in the society, but stressed that they must be given the desired peaceful environment to perform their duties.
He said: “We are here at Government House gate and the reason we are here is the fact that for us as journalists we are worried about the state of insecurity, especially in this state. Election is all over the country but in Rivers State it is taking a different dimension.
“We have to come to government first because government’s first responsibility is the protection of lives and property and the way things are going we as people who chronicle the stories every day have found that gradually, Rivers State is sliding into a very serious state of insecurity and we are not happy.
Continuing, Dokubo said: “Whatever that is needful and necessary to do to stem this tide, please do it. We have not come for political reasons; we have come to talk with government. It is a security matter and we are engaging the security agencies as well. There is no way we talk about security in the state without first and foremost coming to government.
“We have also been victims as well; we need as much protection and secured routine as every other citizen of this state and of this country. We know we have a very big role to play as far as this situation is concerned and we are prepared to play our constitutional role but we cannot do that in the kind of atmosphere we have found ourselves, so, we are pleading with government and security agents to take charge of the situation we found ourselves,” he added.
State Governor, Chibuike Amaechi, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Mr. Oguru Fortune Oguru, assured members of the union that government was doing everything within its powers to ensure that peace reigns in the state.
It would be recalled that some journalists in the state have fallen victims of political violence since the campaign for 2015 general elections begun.
The Channels reporters, state correspondent of The Leadership Newspaper, The Sun reporter among others, narrowly escaped death during the All Progressive Congress (APC) recent campaign in Okrika Local Government Area of the state, which was marred with violence.
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