The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos has condemned the attack by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the police on two journalists in the nation’s capital, Abuja.
Giving the two names of the journalists as Friday Olokor, a senior correspondent with The Punch newspapers and Patience Ihejirika of the Leadership newspapers in Abuja, IPC said it has confirmed that the journalists were molested on Thursday while trying to gain access to M & M Events Centre, Abuja.
IPC said the journalists had gone to cover the ongoing African Women Conference organised by dRPC (Development Research and Projects Centre) with the support of Ford Foundation.
A statement on Friday, signed by the Executive Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade and obtained by SaharaReporters, disclosed that “IPC’s Journalist Safety Alert Desk gathered that while Olokor was physically manhandled, Ihejirika had her phone seized and vital videos deleted to ensure she did not record the assault on Olokor”.
“This detestable act is very worrisome and totally against the fundamental human rights of Olokor and Ihejirika who identified themselves as journalists. The continuous attacks on journalists in Nigeria is particularly worrisome, especially when the perpetrators are security operatives whose main function is to protect lives and property,” the statement said.
While applauding an Assistant Director of DSS who reportedly apologised to Olokor with a promise that the personnel involved would be made to face the consequences of their actions, IPC demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice immediately.