By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Practising journalists on regular beats to monitor the lockdown order over fears of the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus in Niger State especially in the state capital, Minna, have been having brushes with law enforcement agents particularly personnel of the Nigeria Police Force.
No fewer than ten Journalists from different media organizations have come under near brute ends of policemen on patrol as the police insisted that Journalists were not amongst those categorized as exempted class of people to be outside on essential services as the lockdown order continue across the state.
As Journalists snarl, so the police men are barking as they stick to their gums not to allow Journalists free movements. Some of the police men bark orders and screamed on Journalists on roads blocked by security agents.
The state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalist has however lampooned such overzealousness on the part of the police.
A statement signed by the duo of Chairman and Secretary of the Niger state council of the NUJ, Comrades Abdul Idris and Abubakar Nmodu, expressed disapproval to the disrespect and dishonor against Journalists by security agents on duty to enforce the restriction order.
The statement argued that Journalists on beats to get credible, first hand information on the ground, were equally on essential service and were not supposed to be accosted or denied access or free movement by any security agent on duty.
The statement sued for the understanding of all persons detailed as those on essential service by authorities to allow Journalists do their work unhindered.
It added that since no body could discharge the role of informing, reporting and educating the citizens but Journalists who have the constitutional responsibility to discharge such calling, it was only proper that Journalists be given access to do their work unfettered.
The NUJ called on the state government to provide safety gears and palliatives to Journalists to enable those covering the lockdown and monitoring the developments on the Coronavirus in the state to do their work under safety and with relative comfort.
The statement enjoined the state government to provide palliatives to citizens and to the media organizations in the state just as it called on Journalists to adopt safety measures as advised by medical experts on how to avoid the deadly Coronavirus.