The Correspondents’ Chapel Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council has condemned in strong term the decision of the Nigeria Police to bar journalists at the Headquarters of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), from performing their constitutional duties.
In a protest letter sent to the Inspector General of Police (Mr. Solomon Arase on Tuesday in Abuja by the Chapel and jointly signed by its Chairman, Raphael Ekpang and Secretary, Jide Oyekunle, drew the attention of the IG, to the reprehensible action of a detachment of policemen drafted to the premises of the Football House at Wuse Zone 7 to maintain law and order in the wake of the leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Football Federation.
The statement reads, “The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abuja Council’s Correspondents Chapel wish to draw your attention to the ugly incident currently has been perpetuated by your men at the secretariat of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF.”
“A detachment of policemen drafted to the premises of the Football House at Wuse Zone 7 to maintain law and order in the wake of the leadership crisis rocking the Nigeria Football Federation a month ago had left it primary duty of maintaining law and order to barring and harassment of our members (Journalists) who are covering the Nigeria Football Federation.”
“Our members who are posted to cover the beat are been prevented by the armed policemen stationed at the main gate from gaining entry into the building, thereby preventing them from performing their constitutional duties, a situation that has put most of our members’ jobs on the line.”
“Sir, this action of your men is repressive, undemocratic and unconstitutional, and aimed at stifling the media. This barbaric act had serious and dangerous implications for the freedom of the press as enshrine in the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act which was enacted in 2011. This action of your men violates Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, which stipulates that the Press ,Radio , Television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives and uphold the responsibility and accountability of government to the people.
“We, therefore call on you, “The IGP to direct the policemen who are drafted to the NFF to henceforth allow journalists who are covering the beat on identification to have unfettered access in and out of the building to enable them perform their statutory duty. Also to probe the untoward activities of alleged harassment of our members”.