By; JULIANA KATUNG, Kaduna
The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria on December 13, 2020 condemned the alleged unprovoked physical assault on two identified BBC Journalists; in South-Eastern Enugu State, recently by a Catholic Priest, Father Ejike Mbaka, and some of his members.
According to a Media report including that of BBC News (Pidgin) of December 10, 2020
the BBC crew had scheduled an interview with Father Mbaka, and that while waiting outside of the premises to be called in for the interview, a group of 20 men surrounded them and were physically and verbally brutalized by the men and Fr. Mbaka.
The alleged assaulted journalists include: Chioma Obianinwa and Nnamdi Agbanelo
According to the report, the journalists were earlier said to have been issued death threats for writing negative reports about the priest”
It was further reported that they narrowly escaped after being chased out
of the premises by the men who also closely trailed them till they left the state.
Although spokesperson for Fr. Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry, Mr. Maximus Ugwuoke, said the entire Adoration family was not aware of the presence of the BBC team on the ground with the mission to interview Mbaka on that faithful day.
IPC Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade in a statement, signed by the Communications Officer, Olutoyin Ayoade stated that the allegation is deserving a thorough investigation by the Police.
“Journalists in Nigeria have become highly endangered species and it is important to get to the root of this matter so that the alleged perpetrators can be made to face the law and serve as a deterrent to others”, Mr.
Arogundade ” further stressed
According to him, assault constitutes a grave offence under the Nigerian Law and is punishable by virtue of the
provisions of the criminal code act.
He added that any assault on Journalists who ensure that important information is accessible to citizens is an attack on their human,
journalistic and democratic rights and should always be condemned.
The Director therefore enjoined the Enugu State Commissioner of Police to take swift measures to investigate in detail the reported attacks and ensure that justice is administered.