The Lagos Journalists’ League has bemoaned the harassment of journalists on Tuesday by men of the Nigeria Police Force while enforcing the lockdown order put in place to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Journalist belong to the essential services list and are exempted from all curfew/lockdown guidelines put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari.
After an order by the Inspector-General of Police on Tuesday however, many journalists and doctors were arrested by officers in Lagos.
The order has now been rescinded and journalists permitted to carry on as usual.
In a statement however, condemning Tuesday’s event, Enitan Olukotun, Acting Secretary, LJL, said the treatment given to media practitioners was barbaric.
The statement reads, “These journalists who are rarely appreciated by the society work around the clock to keep the society informed and stabilise the polity by filtering false news.
“It is disheartening that many of our colleagues had to pass the night on major highways across the state with the attendant health and security risks.
“The high-handedness and overzealousness of policemen in enforcing the curfew is rather disturbing even when the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 had earlier given members of the fourth estate of the realm permission to move without harassment.”
The group therefore demanded an apology and vowed to consider an industrial action if the harassment continues unabated.
It continued, “Lagos Journalists League therefore demands unreserved apology from the police authorities for this act.
“Like other essential professionals who had threatened on embarking on industrial action over the harassment, Lagos journalists can also consider similar action if this unfortunate harassment continues unabated.
“The league draws the attention of the public to dangers inherent in news gathering and processing during this COVID-19 period.
“Some of our colleagues had contracted the dreaded COVID-19 virus whilst working to keep the society informed on the novel virus.
“It is therefore provocative to compensate our colleagues who are working in a very difficult condition with detention and harassment.”