NHRC renews call for protection of journalists’ rights
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has renewed its call for the protection of journalists and media practitioners, who have continued to hold government and public officers accountable.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, made the call at a media parley with journalists in Abuja.
Ojukwu expressed dismay at the way and manner journalists’ rights were being violated and trampled upon for no just cause by the state, non-state actors and individuals, who are not comfortable with certain investigated stories.
According to Ojukwu, it cannot be gainsaid that safety of journalists has been a growing concern in the country and elsewhere in the world, given that some journalists operate under difficult conditions, where freedom of expression and the press is relegated to the background.
“In such climes, the issue of censorship, harassment, unlawful arrest and detention and assassination are not uncommon.
“On our part as a commission saddled with the responsibility of protecting the rights of citizens, including journalists, we will continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure that human rights are adequately protected at all times,” he said.
Ojukwu also declared as a violation of rights, the parading of suspects by the police before trial.
“He said: “Parading suspects before they are charged to court is unconstitutional. It is a violation of the rights of suspects.
“Even the courts have decided that this is not proper, but the police especially keep doing this.
“Unfortunately, we discovered that people whose rights have been violated in such manner, once they are released on bail, walk away and forget everything.
“Let me put it on record that anybody who has suffered that kind of treatment can approach the Commission and together, we will follow up the case till we get justice.
“However, if after someone has been paraded and the person walks away without pursuing the case, it becomes impossible to tackle the person’s case.
“Even if there will be a class action, there is still the need for evidence of the witness.”
The commission, therefore, urged Nigerians whose rights have been violated to approach it and assured that the body will work hard to make sure that victims get redress in court.