Kano, Nigeria – The International Press Centre’s Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (I-CSPJ) has strongly denounced the recent attacks on journalists in Kano State by the police. This disturbing incident occurred during the coverage of a session of the Kano State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal.
Journalists, including Salim Umar Ibrahim from Daily Trust and Zahradeen Lawal, a reporter for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in the Hausa service, found themselves allegedly targeted by police aggression.
Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of the IPC, expressed his condemnation of these attacks in a statement released on Wednesday. He emphasized that “Unwarranted attacks on journalists on legitimate duty is dangerous for our democracy and a major threat to press freedom and violates the fundamental human rights of the journalists.
The IPC has called upon the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) to exercise caution in their interactions with journalists and refrain from creating an environment where media professionals are afraid to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently.
Furthermore, the Centre has urged the Commissioner of Police in Kano State to swiftly take appropriate measures to identify and bring to justice those responsible for assaulting the journalists. In addition to justice, the IPC has also demanded compensation for the affected journalists, recognizing the physical and emotional toll such attacks can have on their lives.
In a broader call to action, the IPC appealed to the NPF to invest in training programs aimed at instilling respect and courtesy in their officers when dealing with journalists and other media practitioners. The statement underscored that the primary responsibility of the police is the protection of all citizens, including journalists, as they fulfill their crucial role in informing the public and safeguarding democratic principles.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the vital need to protect press freedom and the rights of journalists as they carry out their essential duties in Nigeria’s democratic society.