Centre condemns alleged police attack on journalists during Kano tribunal judgment

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Lagos.

The International Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (I-CSPJ) has condemned alleged police assault on journalists covering  proceedings at the Kano Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.

The I-CSPJ made the condemnation in a statement by its Press Freedom Officer, Mr Melody Akinjiyan, in Lagos on Wednesday.

According to the centre, among the attacked journalists are Mr Salim Ibrahim of the Daily Trust newspaper and a BBC Hausa reporter, Mr Zahraddeen Lawal.

l-CSPJ said that it was  dismayed by the reported police attack on the journalists while covering the proceedings.

“Report from Ibrahim said the police on duty asked the journalists to move 10 metres away from the court premises, and in the process, some of them pounced on them, alleging that they were taking pictures.

“Some went after BBC reporter trying to seize his phone, others held the Daily Trust reporter and forcefully collected his phone, damaging the screen,” the centre said.

I-CSPJ called on Kano State commissioner of police  to bring to book, those who allegedly assaulted the journalists.

It added that the police should put  machineries in place to compensate the affected journalists for the alleged inhumane treatment.

“We also call on the Nigeria Police Force to step up training of its officers to be more respectful and courteous in relating with journalists and others.

“They should be reminded constantly that the primary responsibility of the police is the protection of citizens, including journalists,” it said.

Similarly, the Executive Director of International Press Centre, Mr Lanre Arogundade,  described the alleged attack on the journalists as dangerous and a major threat to democracy.

According to him, it was unwarranted as the journalists were carrying out their legitimate duties.

Arogundade said that the alleged assault  violated the fundamental human rights of the journalists.

Arogundade urged the men of the Nigerian Police Force to be mindful of actions  against journalists.

He advised them to avoid creating  environments in which  journalists would be afraid to discharge their duties effectively and efficiently. 

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