2019 poll : AIG warns security agents against malhandlling journalists
By Steve Oko
As the 2019 elections draw closer, the Assistant Inspector General of Police , AIG in charge of Zone 9, Mr. Hosea Kamar, has warned security agents against harassing or malhandlling journalists covering the polls.
The AIG who gave the warning in Umuahia during the End of Year Get-Together and Symposium by the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, said journalists as critical stakeholders in any election should not be hindered from election monitoring by security operatives.
Karma argued that both the press and police as well as other security agencies play special roles for the successful conduct of any election, submitting that none of them should hinder the other from discharging its duties.
The AIG who was represented by the Zonal Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mrs. Janeth Egwu-Chukwu, specifically tasked police officers and men on election duty to respect the rights of journalists on election monitoring and provide adequate security for them.
He said that any police personnel caught manhandling or intimidating journalists would be disciplined accordingly.
The AIG enjoined journalists not to hesitate to report any erring police personnel to the appropriate quarters for necessary action.
He however, advised journalists to ensure they are properly identified to avoid unnecessary confrontation with security agents.
In his remarks Deputy Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe, commended Abia journalists for their inestimable contribution towards better society through their reports.
He, however, advised them against the unethical conducts of some social media operators who peddle fake news capable of setting society ablaze.
Speaking also, Chairman of the event and the Vice Chancellor of the Abia State University Uturu, Professor Uche Ikonne, said journalists are one of the critical pilars that hold society.
The VC who was represented by the Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Professor C. O Emereole, said journalists contribute a lot for the good of society, and do not deserve intimidation or harrassmnet on-the cause of their duties.
Ikonne appealed to security agents as well as the electoral umpire to factor in journalists in their contingency arrangements for the elections.
Earlier in a lecture entitled :”2019 Elections : Challenges before Journalists “, the Archbishop of Aba Ecclesiastical Province and the Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Ikechi Nwosu, regretted that journalists were not appreciated for their sacrifices for society.
The Archbishop, represented by Venerable Alex Ihemekwala, however urged journalists not to be detered by the myriad of challenges before them in the course of duty.
He also advised them against compromising their reports because of financial inducements or personal politicians views.
The cleric advocated the setting up of strong insurance policy for journalists considering the high risk involved in their job.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of Correspondents Chapel, Comrade Obinna Ibe, described journalism as “thankless profession”, and called on media owners and government to change their attitude towards journalists.
He regretted that a lot of journalists working with private media outfits were owed years of salary arrears while the few who are paid are poorly enumerated.
Ibe identified some of the challenges against Abia Correspondents Chapel as : poor welfare package, lack of operational office and vehicle, harrassmnet by security operatives among others.
In his good will message, the Governorship candidate of the opposition All Progressive Congress, Dr. Uche Ogah, charged journalists to be united and avoid unnecessary bickering among them.
He also urged them not to give up hope in the face of their daunting challenges, assuring them that better days are ahead.
Ogah who was represented by the Media Director of his Campaign Organisation, Chief Joshua Ogbonna, told Abia journalists not to bother anymore about their fate, assuring them that they would soon join Abia to rejoice when he “assumes office next year”.
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