The Coalition of Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) has condemned the persistent attacks on journalists in Nigeria and called on the government to protect all media workers in the country.
The Coalition cited the February 1, 2022 attack by suspected hoodlums on Channels TV and Arise TV crews at the Tin Can Port Apapa in Lagos State while recording the gridlock on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway Lagos.
It noted that in the same vein, gunmen stormed ThisDay newspapers head office at Utako where production and other staff were subjected to inhuman treatment, with their attackers threatening to return.
The rising incidence of attacks against journalists, according to CWPPF, raises concerns for the protection of citizens’ rights, the ability of the state to ensure effective governance, and the statutory obligation of the news media to hold the government and state officials accountable as required by the 1999 constitution.
CWPPF also cited another “incident of abuse of power and lack of respect for the rule of law by the current administration” among others with the suspension of ‘Idon Mikiya’, a Hausa programme by Vision FM as a result of a discussion that highlighted irregularities around the appointment of the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
In the said incident, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Nigeria’s broadcast industry regulatory body claimed it sanctioned the radio station for content harmful to the country’s national security. It fined Vision FM the sum of N5 Million.
This, the Coalition said, is a gross abuse of power, a trend that consistently shows that Nigerian journalists aren’t protected but are consistently humiliated and abused while discharging their duty as prescribed by the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
Concerned about the threat against unity and democracy in Nigeria, the Coalition called on the government to provide adequate security and protection for all journalists in Nigeria, especially while performing their statutory duty.