Save us from continued security harrassment–Journalists urge Niger govt

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The Niger state Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ),has called on the state government to end continued of journalists its members by providing them with safety kits and palliatives to enable them go about their jobs in safety and relative comfort.

The Chairman of the council, Comrade Abdul Idris and the Secretary, Abu Nmodu, made the call in a joint statement in Minna on Tuesday.
The two officials said the call became urgent to put an end to the continued harrassment of journalists covering the restriction of movement in the state, by security operatives in the state..
The council expressed disgust over the ugly development, stressing that journalists were doing their lawful job as recognised by the Constitution.

Idris and Nmodu said that members of the council were also on essential duty recognised by President Muhammadu Buhari in his recent nation wide broadcast to the natio on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Duaglobalnews reports that the restriction, from 10 a.m to 12 in the night, became necessary to check spread of Coronavirus (COVID 19) escalating to the state.

The officials said no fewer than 10 journalists had been subjected to one form of harassment or the other when the lock down started more than a week ago in the state.
The council wondered why the security operatives should subject media practitioners doing their lawful duty to untold harship.
It described the action of the security operatives as counterproductive to the protection of the fundamental rights of the citizens who deserved to be well informed about happenings in the society.
The officials of the council said: ” Whereas in line with international conventions, Niger state government that announced the lockdown exempted journalists as essential workers but the security agencies have continued to harass journalists, this must stop.

“In the ongoing efforts to check the spread of Coronavirus, the media has been in the forefront of ensuring that members of the public are effectively informed and educated.about the pandemic disease
“The council is, therefore, worried that the same journalists who are key stakeholders in the process of ensuring that Coronavirus does not escalate to the state have been subjected to all forms of harassment by security operatives.

“We call on the state government and the head of security agencies to call their field staff to order and stop harassing journalists on essential duties.
“The council,however, appreciates the proactive measures put in place by the state government to ensure that the virus does not spread to the state.

“In line with the template from the National Secretariat of the NUJ on how journalists should protect themselves while carrying out their assignments, Niger state council was the first to close its recreational facility.
“This was even before the curfew started to, prove that were are worthy partners in checking the spread of Corona Virus.”

According to the council, the quality of information needed by the people to make informed opinion on issues can only be possible in a safe environment where freedom of expression, freedom to inform and the right to know are exercised.

The council promised that while the Covid-19 crisis confined the nation with unprecedented health, social and economic consequences, its members were more than ever before in informing, publishing and broadcasting vital information to the people on the pandemic disease.

Meanwhile, NUJ has also called on the state government to come up with ways of cushioning the effects of lockdown on the people, particularly the poor.
The council also urged that the state- owned media organisations be equipped to enable them perform optimally in the coverage of COVID-19 and the state generically.

The council which joined global prayer for God’s intervention to end the pandemic disease,urged members to always uphold the ethics of their profession in their reportage of COVID 19.
It also advise the members to adhere strictly to safety tips as advised by medical experts in order to stay alive.

Narrating her ordeal in the hands of security operatives, in an interview with Duaglobalnews, Chinwe Nnadozie of Independent newspaper, said: “I was going to check the level of compliant when a team of security operatives accosted me.
“After self introduction with valid document,I was delayed for some times for reason that they were not told that journalists were exempted from such lawful duty.
” Some radio station reporters/presenters missed assignments, some were simply not allowed to go about their duties. I have to call the NUJ chairman, but they still kept me until the time they decided to release me, very sad.”

: Tanzania records first casualty

Tanzania has confirmed its first coronavirus death, the country’s Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu said in a statement.

Duaglobalnews quoted as saying that the 49-year-old Tanzanian male, who had pre-existing conditions, had been admitted to Mloganzila Hospital in Dar Es Salaam for treatment.
Tanzania had 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Monday while Nigeria recorded 131 cases of the pandemic disease as at March 31.

Meanwhile, the lockdown in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and most the states of the federation went into effect on Tuesday with roads in nation’s capital devoid of vehicular movement.
In Lokoja, the capital of kogi state, north central Nigeria, members of transport unions in the were seen enforcing the ban on movement of commercial vehicles.
The ban is part of the move by the state government to check the spread of COVID-19 to the state, the pandemic that has so far recorded 131 and two deaths in Nigeria.
Duaglobalnews reports that kogi has not recorded any reported case of Coronavirus since it worked out in Wuhan in China in December, 2019.

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