NUJ tackles FCT Police Commissioner over War on Media

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Abuja Council has tasked the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Haruna to concentrate on tackling security issues in the territory rather than threatening journalists in the course of performing their legitimate and constitutional duties of reporting events.

The council in a statement by its chairman, Mr. Jacob Edi, said the threat by the police boss to deal with journalists over their reportage of incidents involving the police was misplaced, directionless and lacking in character. Edi said that the union was not unaware of past attempts by the FCT Command to stifle free press, stressing that only recently the police boss sent his men and officers to storm the premises of an Abuja based newspaper, Aso Telegraph over a report of the activities of kidnappers and ritual killers in the territory.

Also, the NUJ chairman said a similar incident happened when the commissioner invited a reporter with Leadership Newspapers over a report on a police officer serving in the Federal Capital Territory Administration for questioning. According to Edi, the union felt the issues were isolated incidents but noted that with the open declaration of war on the media by the police boss, it was clear that there was a deliberate and sustained effort by the FCT command to destabilize journalists from monitoring governance on behalf of the people and hold public officials accountable as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.

Edi further stated that at a time crime was on the increase in the territory with no less than 10 cars stolen daily, Haruna rather than concentrate on tackling the menace was rather interested in waging a losing battle against journalists.

The Council chairman urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, to look into the latest onslaught on journalists by the FCT Command and call them to order. He further charged Onovo to redeploy the commissioner as according to him, he has over in the FCT, therefore has lost touch with the reality of combating crime.

He also stated that the council is seeking for an independent panel to look into the shooting of a bus conductor by a policeman in Lifecamp over N30 bus fare, stressing that only a impartial inquiry can ensure justice.