Ovedhe Hezekiah – Warri

Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Delta state council has threatened to boycott the coverage of Delta state government’s response to COVID-19, citing incessant harassment of journalists by government task force and security agencies.

The Union says lives of journalists are at risk in Delta state.

Delta state government and security agencies have shown no positive response in the face of these incessant harassment on journalists.

More than 100 journalists are harassed on the line of duty every year by Nigerian security agents.

The Union in a statement signed by her chairman, Michael Ikeogwu and secretary, Churchill Oyowe, notes that journalists on the line of duty have sadly before objects of target.

Part of the statement reads; “it is disheartening that media practitioners have unfortunately turned targets for attacks by members of the public, particularly security agencies and governmental bodies in Delta State.

“We may be left with the option of a total blackout of coverage of the lock down order in Delta state, if the needless attacks on our highly esteemed members continue.”

The statement recalled that the state chairman of the NUJ, Michael Ikeogwu and a reporter with Daily Trust newspapers were harassed and manhandled in Effurun, Uvwie local government area.

NUJ threatens to boycott coverage of COVID-19 response in Delta Chris Isiguzo, President NUJ.

A photo-journalist with the Pointer newspapers, Norbert Amede, was brutally attacked by the police in Ibusa, Oshimili North Local Government Area. The attack left Amede physically disfigured and hospitalized for days.

The statement disclosed that staff of Delta State Broadcasting Service (DBS) was attacked on Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Uvwie local government, who were monitoring citizens’ compliance with the lock down order.

“The DBS Warri team, led by a deputy general manager, Linus Chima, was attacked for covering scenes of clear violation of the social distancing directive by both the federal and state governments”, the Union says.

The Union frowned at attacks on journalists describing it as barbaric and recall that media workers were exempted from the restriction of movement imposed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

The Union says despite these harassment, journalists in the state will not abdicate her responsibilities to both the government and the people.