The International Press Centre (IPC) has condemned in strong terms, the attacks on several journalists who were on legitimate duty to cover the #ENDSARs one-year anniversary protests in Lagos and other parts of the country today, Wednesday October 20, 2021.
Reports from the IPC’ situation room on ‘Media Coverage of One Year After the #EndSars Protest’ reveal that Legit.ng Online reporter, Abisola Alawode was arrested at the Lekki Toll Plaza while PM News correspondent, Taiwo Okanlawon and the Arise TV crew of Adefemi Akinsanya and Ope Adenihun were beaten and harassed at the same venue.
The Arise TV crew were also illegally ordered to pull down the drone they were using to cover the event.
Policemen also barred The Punch Newspaper correspondent, Adebimpe Olajiga, from covering the protest and in Osogbo, Daily Post correspondent, Sikiru Obarayase, was arrested during the anniversary match in the state capital.
The attacks on the journalists mark an unfortunate and condemnable repeat of the assault on the media during the #EndSars protests in October last year.
‘It is highly regrettable the security agencies continue to fail to recognise journalists as frontline workers during crisis situations”, Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said in a statement.
According to Mr. Arogundade the actions of the policemen pose major threat to the ability of the media to serve as societal watchdog and hold government accountable to the people.
Mr. Arogundade said it was equally wrong for the Police to arrest and detain the #EndSars protesters describing the action as a clear violation of the right to peacefully assemble and protest.
“The combined effect of the repression of the journalists, media professionals and #EndSars activists is that the democratic space is being undermined by the government through the security agencies”, he added.
IPC therefore calls for a halt to the assault on democratic rights of Nigerian citizens and demands that those responsible for Wednesday’s attacks should be fished out and prosecuted.