An influential group of journalists based in Lagos, Lagos Journalists League, has condemned the attacks by suspected hoodlums on journalists covering the official campaign flag-off of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos on Tuesday.
The group, in a statement on Wednesday signed by its Secretary General, Enitan Olukotun, said that journalists need to be provided adequate security which is accorded VIPs and top chieftains of political parties at rallies.
“We are deeply worried that whilst media contributes immensely in deepening the nation’s fragile democracy through election coverage and reportage, the political class who are the biggest beneficiaries of the process could not provide adequate security for our members on such dangerous assignments.
“Perhaps, if Lagos APC had provided tight security measures accorded its VIPs for Journalists at Sky Power Ground, the Group Political Editor of The Nation Newspaper, Emmanuel Oladesu, Temitope Ogunbanke of New Telegraph and Ibile Television cameraman, Abiodun Yusuf would not have been victims of the deadly gang clash at the rally.
“Lagos Journalists League, henceforth demands treatment and security measures accorded VIPs and top chieftains of the political parties at rallies to be extended to men and women of the fourth Estate of the realm.
“We will not hesitate to advise our esteemed colleagues to shun rallies of any political parties who could not provide the barest minimum security for journalists who are reporting their activities,” the statement read.
The group also urged the Lagos APC to “with immediate effect provide worldclass, adequate treatment for Oladesu, Ogunbanke and Yusuf who were attacked by daredevil hoodlums during the melee.
“After all, the affected journalists are not lesser beings to Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, an APC chieftain who was involved in a similar tragic incidence in Ekiti State.”