The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ogun State Council has condemned the assault on the union’s secretary and a reporter with the Ogun State Television, Bunmi Adigun, by some security officers attached to the Governor of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke.
The security officers were said to have attacked Adigun while carrying out his assignments during the 66th birthday of the Abepa of Joga-Orile, Oba Adeyemi Adekeye, and conferment of chieftaincy title on Adeleke by the monarch on Friday.
Recounting his ordeals, Adigun said, “Though the governor was amiable, but all the security details were unruly. They started misbehaving anyhow immediately after the governor arrived, pushing and harassing every journalist, even those who came with other special guests from Osun State.
“They pushed my cameraman and other cameramen, I thought that was enough until they got to where we were standing, I was harassed, embarrassed, and they nearly tore my clothes.”
The union, in a statement signed by its State Chairman, Wale Olanrewaju, and made available to journalists on Saturday, described the attack as unwarranted and an affront to press freedom.
The statement partly read, “This reckless and reprehensible behaviour towards a member of the press, who was simply carrying out his professional duties, is utterly unacceptable and cannot be tolerated in a democratic society, granted that any form of assault on a journalist is an affront on the fundamental principles of press freedom and the right of citizens to access accurate and unbiased information.
“The press must remain free, unshackled, and empowered to fulfil its vital role in society.
“It is deeply concerning that individuals entrusted with the responsibility of upholding law and order would resort to using excessive force and intimidation against journalists. Such actions not only undermine the integrity of the media but also erode the trust between the government and the people it serves.
“We urge Governor Adeleke to take swift and decisive action to hold the perpetrators of this attack accountable and to ensure that measures are put in place to safeguard the rights and safety of journalists as attacks on the press will not be tolerated in any form and that those responsible shall be made to face the full force of the law.
“As a unified body, we stand in solidarity with our colleague and strongly demand an immediate public apology to our colleague and a commitment from the Governor of Osun State to uphold the rights and safety of journalists.
“Any failure to address this matter with the urgency and seriousness it warrants will be viewed as a disregard for the rule of law and an assault on press freedom”.