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Abia NUJ condemns incessant harassment, maltreatment of journalists

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Abia NUJ condemns incessant harassment, maltreatment of journalists

The leadership of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Abia state Council, has used the ocassion of their courtesy visit to the Abia State Commissioner of police, Kenechukwu Onwuemelie, to call for a stop to the incessant harassment and maltreatment of journalists in the country.

Speaking when he led members of his executives and others to the Command Headquarters in Umuahia, the Chapel chairman, Comrade Sam Ibe, appealed to the police boss to caution some of his officers who are in the habit of harassing and manhandling journalists on duty to stop such unwholesome acts.

According to him, both police and journalists are part of global efforts to sanitize the society.

Ibe made special reference to the recent case of a journalist (name withheld) in the state who was beaten up in one of the banks while interviewing customers on their impressions about the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC/TUC strike.

He , therefore, called for closer working relationship between Journalists and police as partners in the maintenance of peace and order in the society.

The chairman noted that the victimized journalist was only carrying out his official assignment and ought to have been protected by the policemen on duty rather than being beaten up as a convict, and his camera snatched away from him.

He, however, used the occasion to commend the police commissioner for his proactiveness in ensuring the reduction of insecurity in the state, citing the instances of kidnappings, banditry and other criminalities at Lokpanta and other parts of the state.

“Your coming to Abia is not just strategic, but divine. You have shown commitment to duty. Security has drastically improved and we are no longer witnessing violent crimes as it used to be before your coming. This is, of course, a boost to the administration of governor Alex Otti. Moreso, now that the governor is wooing investors into the state, to improve the state economy.”

Ibe commended the massive renovations taking place at the police command, saying that the police need conducive atmosphere to operate.

He noted that it is on record that any commissioner of police that comes to Abia are always lucky to leave the state being promoted to higher ranks. He equally wished Commissioner the same privilege.

The chapel chairman admonished the commissioner to always carry the chapel along in the activities of the Command in the state.

He advised him not to segrigate in the coverage of police activities, as coverage of police beats border on security of the state and country, in general.

“Correspondents have an office, identity, are trained, and not faceless. You know where to get them in case they publish anything wrong or if you are misquoted. The services of a trained journalist is quite distinct from that of an untrained online reporter, who is merely an emergency Android phone reporter. I regret that most members of the public do not know the difference and regard and treat all handling pens and papers as journalists,” he said.

Responding, the commissioner of police, said he is aware of the risks and challenges facing journalists in the discharge of their duties and assured that he will, at all times, partner with the Chapel.

He promised to ensure that the environment is conducive for journalists to operate and will liase with the chairman of the chapel to ensure that correspondents are carried along in the coverage of police activities.

On security arrengements in the state, the police-boss hinted that security operatives in the state are are doing their best, stressing that credit must first go to God; and to governor Alex Otti, who has been very supportive in ensuring that insecurity is drastically reduced to the barest minimum.

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