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IPC seeks probe of ‘attack’ on BBC reporters in Enugu

By Charles Akpeji, Jalingo
14 December 2020   |   11:01 pm
International Press Centre (IPC) has called for thorough investigation into the alleged physical assault on BBC journalists in the South East by a Catholic priest, Fr. Ejike Mbaka, and some members of his Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN).

International Press Centre (IPC) has called for thorough investigation into the alleged physical assault on BBC journalists in the South East by a Catholic priest, Fr. Ejike Mbaka, and some members of his Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN).

A statement by the Executive Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, reads: “Journalists in Nigeria have become highly endangered species and it is important to get to the root of this matter, so that the perpetrators can be made to face the law and serve as a deterrent to others.”

Mbaka and members of his ministry allegedly attacked BBC correspondents, Chioma Obianinwa and Nnamdi Agbanelo, in Enugu State recently.

In the statement, IPC decried the way practising journalists had in recent times been subjected to series of attack.

Assault on journalists by overzealous persons, he stated, constitutes a grave offence under the Nigerian law and is punishable by virtue of the provisions of the criminal code.

He described any assault on journalists on the line of duty as an attack on their human, journalistic and democratic rights, hence should always be condemned.

Urging the Enugu State Commissioner of Police to investigate the allegation and ensure that justice is dispensed accordingly, the IPC boss said the centre would not rest till justice is done.

Media reports, including that of BBC News (Pidgin), had it that the BBC crew had scheduled an interview with Fr. Mbaka, but that while waiting outside his premises in their vehicle to, a group of 20 men surrounded them.

The crew was reportedly issued death threats for allegedly writing negative reports about Mbaka amid physical and verbal attacks by the men and the cleric.

Though the spokesperson for Fr. Mbaka’s AMEN, Maximus Ugwuoke, said the entire Adoration family was not aware of the presence of the BBC team on the Adoration ground to interview Mbaka, IPC insisted that the allegation deserved thorough investigation by the police.