By; Juliana Katung, Kaduna.
Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna State Council has condemned the arrest of one of its members Jacob Onjewu Dickson saying the state Government went too far by sending him straight to prison without proper arraignment.
This form part of a communiqué issued at the end of its emergency congress held at the Council Secretariat noting that his arrest and detention in prison should have been the last resort after its has failed to address the matter at NUJ level.
It added that, the incident is coming at time President Muhammedu Buhari gave directive
to stop ill-treatment of Journalists in the country.
The council said it celebrated the World Press Freedom day in grief as one of their colleagues was in Prison custody on the order of the state government while it lost another one to death.
It observed that the relationship of the union and state Government over years has never been this sour to extent where few journalists are selected to cover government functions resulting to some newsmen missing important stories emanating from Government, describing it as unhealthy.
“We therefore stressed the need to meet with the state government in order to create an understanding between it and the union” it noted.
The Council however, called on Government to always call the attention of NUJ council in similar cases in the future before involving security.
It however, resolved to regulate operation of all online media platform in order to avoid unethical practices and commended their members who played a vital role during the council’s effort to secure the release of its member.
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“We celebrated our own World Press Freedom Day in grief as a colleague was in Prison custody on the order of the state government, while another colleague died.
“We want to call on the government to in the future report any colleague to the state council of NUJ for disciplinary action, before involving security operatives.
“The Union condemns the arrest of her member, especially as the incident is coming on the heels of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to stop ill-treatment of journalists.
“The Council though does not support lack of respect for ethics of Journalism.
“We however state categorically that, the state government went too far by sending our colleague straight to prison without proper arraignment. His arrest and subsequent detention in the prison should have been the last resort after NUJ must have failed in addressing the matter properly.
“The Council therefore stressed the need to meet with the state government in order to create an understanding between it and the union.
The Congress also observed that the relationship between the state government and the union has never been this sour in the history of Kaduna State. A situation where few journalists are selected to cover government functions is unhealthy, as many of our colleagues often miss important stories emanating from government quarters.
“The Congress however cautioned members to avoid issues that can set the country and the state ablaze. We must remember that, as journalists, we have a responsibility to promote peace and unity in the society.
“The Council resolved to regulate operation of online media platforms to guard against unethical practices.
“It condemned action of members who disobeyed its directive that all activities, including government functions be suspended, pending the release of Mr. Jacob Dickson.
“It however commended the efforts of colleagues who played vital roles towards the council’s move to secure his release.
“On the World Press Freedom Day celebration, the Congress commended the Nigerian Brewery and Youth Development and Moral Rebirth Initiative for celebrating with members of the Kaduna State Council of NUJ”.