By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Lagos Journalists’ League (LJL), has condemned the harassment and subsequent detention of journalists by men of the state’s Police Command acting on the directive of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, on strict enforcement of inter-state movement restriction and the provisions of the curfew nationwide.
The group of conscientious journalists operating in Lagos argued that that the action was an infringement on the rights of their members, noting that such was also in disregard of the Presidential directive with exempts all essential services workers, including journalists and health workers from all lockdown protocols and movement restriction.
Recall that the police boss had on Tuesday ordered strict enforcement of inter-state movement restriction and the provisions of the curfew in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari directive, a directive which was greeted with outrage after journalists and health workers were harassed in many states, including Lagos.
But, the group’s acting Secretary, Enitan Olukotun, alleged that the harassment was deliberately orchestrated by the police since none of the personnel of the state’s police command would feign ignorance of the journalists’ module of Operandi.
Olukotun, through a statement released to newsmen on Wednesday, while decrying the action, maintained that the journalists, who he said, are rarely appreciated by the society in working around the clock to keep the society informed and stabilize the polity by filtering false news, deserved public deserve a public apology from the police authorities.
“It is disheartening that many of our colleagues had to pass the night on major highways across the state with the attendant health and security risks. The high handedness and overzealousness of policemen in enforcing the curfew is rather disturbing even when the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 had earlier given members of the fourth Estate permission to move without harassment.
“Like other essential professionals who had threatened or embark on industrial action over the harassment, Lagos journalists can also consider similar action if this unfortunate harassment continues unabated. The League draws the attention of the public to dangers inherent in news gathering and processing during this Covid-19 period.
“Some of our colleagues had contracted the dreaded COVID-19 virus whilst working to keep the society informed on the novel virus. It is therefore provocative to compensate our colleagues who are working in a very difficult condition with detention and harassment,” the statement read.