PRESS STATEMENT: 12/09/17
INVASION OF NUJ PRESS CENTRE UMUAHIA, ABIA STATE BY THE MILITARY: IS NIGERIA OFFICIALLY A POLICE STATE?
The attention of the leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone C, (South East) has been drawn to the unwarranted invasion of the
Press Centre of NUJ, Abia State Council, at Umuahia today 12th September, 2017, by the Nigerian army.
The military personnel reportedly beat up journalists at sight and destroyed their working tools such as Samsung Tablets, mobile
telephones, and mini-recorders. The military men also destroyed furniture, documents and other property yet to be quantified.
This unprovoked attack, to say the least, is barbaric and shameful, and a throwback to dark days of military dictatorship, which the media
and other well meaning organizations and individuals fought hard to change the regime and psyche.
The attack on the journalists on the ostensible suspicion of taking photos and/or videos of the military on a “show of strength” in a highly populated busy street, without any atom of security threat, calls to question; whether Nigeria is still operating a civil democracy or military dictatorship? Has Nigeria returned to the dark days of police state? Or is Nigeria at war?
If indeed the military wants to “showcase her strength”, what is wrong in the media, if at all they took pictures or video, in helping
them to showcase the military power? Haven’t they been calling for media support and collaboration?
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the military to order.
Nigeria deserves peace and development, and South East is peaceful, as we have no evidence that Governors from this zone, who are the Chief Security Officers of the zone, had made any request for military deployment. Even the latest United Nation’s report indicates that
South East geo-political zone is the most peaceful in the country.
We call on the National Assembly and the International Community to weigh into this fragrant abuse of human rights, and premeditated provocation of civil disobedience that might precipitate shedding of
We also call on the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff and the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Nigerian Army Enugu to take note of this unprofessional conducts and punish the unruly officers. They should also take immediate steps to replace damaged
equipments/gadgets and compensate our colleagues manhandled. There must be rules of engagement in line with international best practices.
Finally we advise the Federal Government to adopt dialogue in handling issues of pro-Biafra agitations in the zone, which many have described as a metaphor for so many contradictions and the state of anomy in the
economic and socio-political life of the country.
All these had equally resulted in strident calls from different quarters for urgent restructuring of the country. The Federal Government cannot be impervious to the building tension, frustration and suffering of Nigerians and shouldn’t pour fuel into a gathering fire.
Comrade Chris Isiguzo
Comrade Kenneth Ofoma
Vice President Zone C
Secretary, Zone C