The President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Mr Christopher Iziguzo has appealed to the Nigeria Police to protect Journalists as they carry out their duties across the country.
Mr. Iziguzo, made the called while speaking at a Forum for the Adoption of Framework on Police Media-Relationship and Safety of Journalists organised by the NUJ in collaboration with Media Foundation for West Africa and other partners in Abuja on Thursday, said that the safety of journalists was crucial to national growth in view of their role as watchdogs of the society.
Mr Iziguzo said that Nigeria should not toy with its newsmen because they were the light, conscience and watchdog of the society.
He emphasised the need for journalists and Police to work together and regretted that the role of the newsmen as the oxygen of democracy was under severe threat.
“The Police and journalists should be partners in progress; we journalists don’t have guns; we are not criminals or terrorists and I call on the Police to protect journalists; they should see us as partners in progress for positive change. I want to call on you to accept us as friends and partners.
His word, “When you see us out there, accept us as friends of the state and nation builders. We are very much ready at all times to ensure we engage in issues that will take the nation to the next positive level.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Mr Sulemana Braimah, said that the relationship between the media and the Police was a crucial one.
“A journalist will often need information, protection and authentication of information from the Police and the Police sometimes rely on the information of incidences in the country from the journalists.
“The Police also rely on journalists to get pieces of evidence to back their investigations, but, unfortunately, this relationship sometimes tends to be sour and is a sad thing to say that across West Africa, the Police usually tend to be the aggressors.
“Sometimes, it is not because the Police don’t like journalists, but some journalists don’t know how to handle themselves, particularly when they are in public places.
“We have seen where journalists go to the war front in Syria, Yemen and bring footage, I believe they follow certain procedures; so, sometimes it is not that Police officers are rude or overzealous; maybe journalists don’t toe the line they are supposed to,” Briamah said.