From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
The Niger State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ ,has expressed dismay over the harassment of its members on essential duties by security men enforcing the ongoing lock down in the state.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Niger Council of Nigerian Union of Journalists NUJ, signed by the Chairman Abdul Idris and Secretary Abu Nmodu respectively, advised their bosses to call them to order.
According to them ,”Whereas in line with international convention the state government that announced the lock down exempted journalists as essential workers, reports reaching the secretariat of the Council indicated that no fewer than ten (10) members of the Council have suffered one form of harassment or the other in less than a week the lock down started.”
Continuing, the council said, “In the ongoing fight against the spread of Corona virus (Covid 19) the media has been in the fore front and ensuring that the members of the public are well informed, the council therefore consider the harassment of her members by security men as counterproductive in the fight against covid 19 spread.”
However, the council appreciated the efforts of the Niger state government for the proactive measures put in place to check the spread of the pandemic in the state, urging the government and head of security agencies in the state to call the security men to order and stop the harassment of its members in the state.
“Regrettably, while the Covid-19 crisis confines the nation with unprecedented health, social and economic consequences, journalists are more than ever essential in publishing and broadcasting quality information, this should be accomplished in complete safety” the statement added.
The Union has called on the State Government to urgently provide safety kits and palliative to Journalists to enable them do their work in safety and relative comfort.
Consequently, Just as at this moment, journalists have become even more vulnerable because they are at the forefront of daily reportage of developments from the pandemic.