Date Published: 07/13/10
Centre for Media & Development
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PRESS RELEASE July 12, 2010
CMD condemns kidnap of Journalists
The kidnap yesterday of three Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, officials in Abia State on their way back from the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting of the union at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State is a new dimension to the criminal enterprise prevalent in the South South and South East geo-political zones, which threatens to bring the nation to its knees.
The attack on these hapless journalists on national assignment is an attack on free speech and the infringement on the fundamental rights of law abiding citizens to freedom of movement, and must be resisted by all men of goodwill.
We call on Nigerians, especially the communities within the Aba axis where these journalists were abducted to avail the security agencies of any useful information that will lead to the arrest of the culprits. Kidnappers should know that journalists are patriots performing their constitutional duties. They are not money bags; so the issue of mind-boggling ransom should be out of it. We call on them to immediately release their captives unconditionally.
This latest dastardly act has once again brought into sharp focus the failure of our security agencies; namely; the Police and State Security Services, SSS, to nip this monstrous criminality in the bud.
We enjoin the Inspector General of Police not to rest on his oars until the culprits and their accomplices are visited with the full weight of the law.
Nigerians should rise up against this impunity and rampaging criminality as the activities of these hoodlums are likely to erode the gains of our renascent democracy without which the nation cannot make any appreciable progress.
It is regrettable that media workers have increasingly become targets of attacks most times by politicians and their agents. While the Boko Haram crisis raged, the Daily Trust Correspondent in Maiduguri was 'deported' from Borno State on the orders of Governor Modu Sherrif. In the same Maiduguri, the governor's security detail assaulted Nigerian Compass photo-journalist and seized his camera.
In Benue State, a correspondent was recently attacked and his car smashed by persons said to have been sponsored by one of the Commissioners in the State. Barely 48 hours after, the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN’s, Correspondent in Owerri, Imo State, was also reportedly attacked by agents of the state.
All these are ominous signs!