The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo State Council, has expressed disapproval over the conduct of officials of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who beat up journalists in Owerri, the state capital, over the weekend.
In a statement signed by the state NUJ Chairman, Mr Innocent Igwe, the union described the incident as unwarranted, excessive and abusive use of force by the officers involved.
It described the action of the officers as unnecessary, inhumane and shameful. The union claimed that the officers of FRSC and NSCDC on duty decided to put people’s lives at risk, just because the journalist pleaded with them to release a car carrying a woman in labour to the hospital, in order to prevent any mishap.
“Journalists in Imo have maintained excellent working relationship with the security agencies particularly the FRSC and the Civil Defence. It is worrisome and of serious concern that some officers of these agencies could throw caution to the wind in such a minor incident,” the statement said.
The council called on both agencies to carefully look into the matter and take necessary steps to prevent a reoccurrence. It further expressed its dislike on the action of the officers, saying the journalists were manhandled by those meant to safeguard them.
It was guarded that the journalists were sporadically shot at, while trying to ensure the woman on emergency gets to the hospital on time, her husband was unnecessarily delayed by an official of FRSC, who requested for a bribe, claiming he had an expired driving license.
The journalist involved were Sliverbird reporter, Mr Nnamdi Ofonye, Channels Tv, Mr Eyitope Kuteyi, and Mr Obioma Oburuoga of AIT.