ANA condemns shooting of protesters in Lagos
MRA Decries Attack On Media Houses
The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has joined other Nigerians in condemning the shooting of unarmed protesters in Lagos allegedly by military men.
This is as the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) yesterday condemned attacks on journalists and media houses in some parts of the country during the protest.
ANA President, Camillus Ukah, in a statement, noted that over the years, there have been many contradictions within the polity, which great writers such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ken Saro Wiwa, and others have always decried.
His words: “Indeed, the story of contemporary Nigeria, which has always had an angle of violence and threat to human life, has been the worry of all Nigerian writers and many books of prose, poetry, drama and even prison memoirs have been written on that. Unfortunately, every stratum of our lopsided demography shares part of the culpability in this depressing story until this uplifting moment when a semblance of purpose is seen among our peacefully protesting youths.
“Under such circumstances as the terrifying numbers of unemployed youths that have been produced in this country, it is not too difficult to turn dissatisfaction and restlessness away from other causes and focus it squarely on leadership supposedly elected to provide solutions to a myriad of degenerate human conditions. While we feel that our protesting youths, in expressing their right to speak out against injustice, should always do so strictly within the letter and spirit of the law, ANA maintains that the dastardly act of use of brute force on unarmed, national flag flying youths by the soldiers should be condemned by all well-meaning Nigerians.
“All the same, we call on both our aggrieved youths and the security forces to sheath their swords and urge the government to honestly address both the kernel of the protests and the cause of the escalation of peaceful protests into violence. In so doing, the authorities must bear in mind that another name for lasting peace is crystal clear justice. We, therefore, insist that those who shot mindlessly at defenceless youths exercising their fundamental human rights to peaceful protest and assembly must be brought to swift justice by the government and the victims identified and duly compensated.”
Programme Director, MRA, Mr. Ayode Longe, on his part, described the attack on the journalist as condemnable acts of intimidation and reprisals against media workers and organisations engaged in the lawful pursuit of their professional functions.
“The media serve a critically important function in society, particularly in times of crisis and emergencies, as it is imperative that citizens, other members of the public, and communities are adequately informed about the prevailing situation, including any threat to their lives or wellbeing. Such acts of intimidation and violence against the media and journalists, as we have witnessed in recent days, undermine their ability to perform their functions and violate the public’s right of access to information.”