The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone C, (South East) has slammed the Nigerian military for beating up journalists and destroying their working tools during its invasion of its Press Centre in Umuahia, Abia State on Tuesday.
NUJ Zone C in a statement signed by the Vice President, NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo and the Secretary, Comrade Kenneth Ofoma wondered how audacious the military can be in their so-called “Operation Python Dance II.”
It called on President Muhammadu Buhari, National Assembly and the International Community to stop this fragrant abuse of human rights and call the military to order.
Read the statement below:
The attention of the leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone C, (South East) has been drawn to the unwarranted invasion of the Press Centre of NUJ, Abia State Council, at Umuahia today 12th September, 2017, by the Nigerian army.
The military men also destroyed furniture, documents and other property yet to be quantified.
This unprovoked attack, to say the least, is barbaric and shameful, and a throwback to dark days of military dictatorship, which the media and other well-meaning organizations and individuals fought hard to change the regime and psyche.
The attack on the journalists on the ostensible suspicion of taking photos and/or videos of the military on a “show of strength” in a highly populated busy street, without any atom of security threat, calls to question; whether Nigeria is still operating a civil democracy or military dictatorship?
If indeed the military wants to “showcase her strength”, what is wrong in the media, if at all they took pictures or video, in helping them to showcase the military power?
Haven’t they been calling for media support and collaboration?
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the military to order.
Nigeria deserves peace and development, and South East is peaceful, as we have no evidence that Governors from this zone, who are the Chief Security Officers of the zone, had made any request for military deployment.
Even the latest United Nation’s report indicates that South East geo-political zone is the most peaceful in the country.
We call on the National Assembly and the International Community to weigh into this fragrant abuse of human rights, and premeditated provocation of civil disobedience that might precipitate shedding of innocent blood.
We also call on the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigerian Army Enugu to take note of this unprofessional conducts and punish the unruly officers.
They should also take immediate steps to replace damaged equipments/gadgets and compensate our colleagues manhandled.
There must be rules of engagement in line with international best practices.
Finally we advise the Federal Government to adopt dialogue in handling issues of pro-Biafra agitations in the zone, which many have described as a metaphor for so many contradictions and the state of anomy in the economic and socio-political life of the country.
All these had equally resulted in strident calls from different quarters for urgent restructuring of the country.