Kaduna State is now not safe for journalism practice and journalists, the national body of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said.
The declaration followed an invasion of the Kaduna State Council secretariat of the NUJ by thugs on Sunday.
The thugs molested journalists including Lawal Mohammed of Liberty Radio/ TV, a private media outfit with a headquarters in Kaduna.
It would be recalled that several journalists have been taken to court by the present government led by Nasir el-Rufai with the most recent involving Luka Binniyat who was slammed a bail condition by a Kaduna High court which he has not been able to meet the conditions almost two weeks after it was granted.
NUJ said that some desperate politicians who are bent on destroying Journalism and Journalists in Kaduna have continued with their dastardly acts on the media, adding that the most recent development is frightening to the Union as it signals clearly that such attacks on the media are not going to abate any soon.
In a press release signed by the NUJ National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman, Walin Shadalafiya, NUJ said political thugs sponsored by some dangerously reckless members of a political party invaded the Press Centre, venue of a Press briefing by some APC members of the National Assembly and attacked both Journalists and politicians, destroying media equipment and inflicting bodily harm on some Journalists.
“We regret to note that Kaduna is ingloriously attaining notoriety as the deadliest state for Journalists in Nigeria to operate with harassment of Journalists and increased repression of press freedom.”
“As professionals whose responsibility is to monitor governance and hold government accountable to the masses, Journalists now live in perpetual fear of being arrested by security operatives or attacked by faceless assailants without any just cause,” the statement said.
NUJ added: “It is worth noting that press freedom is key to achieving credible democracy and this freedom includes the right to seek and receive information from all available sources to enable formulation of proper opinions to whoever one desires and to do so through whichever means it is feasible to communicate. Such attacks we believe are meant to curtail such freedoms.”
“In the light of these unabated attacks and intimidation on Journalists, we call once more on the Police and other agents of the state, to immediately prioritize issues of security and safety of Journalists not only in Kaduna State but throughout the country as critical components of their programs,” NUJ added.