By Victoria Hanson
Stakeholders from various institutions have solicited for the safety of lives and security of journalists in the country. They made the request today at a colluqium with Dele Giwa’s foundation in collaboration with The Nigeria Union Of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State Council held in Lagos.
They appealed to the government to ensure that they established a bill for the safety and security of journalists in the country so as to protect them in carrying out their duties effectively.
Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, (Social Critics and Rights Activist who spoke on the theme “Safety of Journalists And The Culture Of Impunity In Africa commended the Bring Back Our Girls Campaign on their efforts which led to the Fred of those girls ,calling on President Buhari to also secure the release of other girls.
He revealed that upon the efforts of the journalists during the dead of Dele Giwa yet, Mr Babangida bared from investigating his death. He pointed out that even with the phrase of “Press Freedom ” yet harassment of journalists has not ceased. ” The use of police in the court to intimidate journalists has continue to accumulate more impunity to the system ” he therefore appealed to the NUJ and Dele Giwa ‘s foundation to strive at all course in ensuring that the programme is still alive to serve as remembrance to the government as it connects to the freedom of the press.
The Executive Secretary Of Dele Giwa Foundation, Mr Richard Akinnola urged the federal government to re opened the investigation of the late journalists, Mr Dele Giwa who was assassined in the course of carrying out his duties to the detriment of other culprits.
“He said that no country can use corruption in fighting corruption ,in order to fight corruption it should be done with due process ,as the government is about to revisit Mr Bola Ige ‘s case, government must also ensure that the case of the late journalist is visited”.He however called on media professionals to put their efforts in ensuring that the killer of Dele Giwa is prosecuted.
“Impunity of journalists among the security officers are done on daily basis, there is no fallacy about it. Security agencies need to work hand in hand with the media for protection and for the betterment of the country ” he said
The second Vice President, Nigeria Bar Association NBA) Bar. Monday Ubanji said that media professionals must be regarded as partners rather than enemies as this would curb impunity.
He defined impunity as a violence attack on a journalist and such attack is wastefully left uninvestigated where by the perpetrator walked away without prosecution”
He calculated that journalists have been killed, maimed and attacked from different media houses and states, such as Newswatch, NTA, Channels This Day, The Nation, among others since 1996 till date. Ubani who said that no journalists should ever be imprisoned for defamation urged Nigerian governments to emulate Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) court.
He noted that freedom of the press, protection of lives and properties, good governance as well as the rule of law, should be promoted effectively. Even as he reprimanded the journalists to ensure that they exercise the role of the media in promoting peace and economic growth. “I strongly believed that those who killed Dele Giwa would never escape the punishment ” he hinted.
The Deputy Managing Director, This Day Newspapers Mr. Kayode Komolafe said that if the society itself is not safe, there is no tendency for journalists to be safe.
He said if actually the country is working in accordance of the rule of law, Komolafe said it must involved everybody in the society irrespective of the class, adding that the same treatment given to the lawbreakers must cut across all boards. He advised journalists to however be applying professional skills on their fields of job in order to be safe.
The MD /Editor -In – Chief, The Sun Newspapers Mr Eric Osagie said that the death of the late journalist Mr Dele Giwa is a challenge to all.
In his statistics impunity and danger of media professionals is rising rapidly in different countries .
In 2015, he said 110 journalists were killed in 2016, 67 were killed, calculating that the death of assassinated journalists are 44 percent while death of assignments are 10 percent. He maintained that there is need for journalists in the country to be free and considered in the country, as there is high risk on their tasks.
Also speaking, the commissioner of police, Lagos State, Mr Fatai Owoseni said that impunity is done everywhere and on daily basis, stressing that Nigeria Police Is always at the forefront of ensuring that lives and properties are protected.
The police boss explained that their attendance on the event, was part of investigations . He pointed out that if the death of the late journalist took place in this present government, much would have been done. Saying that “the government is changing which he said is ever ready to pick up bitter cases and revisit the past corrupt cases to ensure that justice is done “.
Owoseni commended the organizers of the event for still keeping fate the memory of the assassinated journalist and therefore reassured that they would employ the advice from the event to carry out their tasks effectively.