*Its affront against civil liberty, democratic ethos
Journalists in Osun State have decried the incessant abuse of its members by operatives of the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS) with the latest incident being that of last Monday at the State House of Assembly.
The statement which was signed by Olaniyi Ajibola, the Secretary of Osun NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel added, “while we were shocked by the intensity of disdain in which our member was treated on Monday, the bestial conduct of operatives of the secret agency in the past, which has been permanently registered in our psyches gave us a cause to be worried about the safety of our members in the state.
It is indeed imperative and expedient for us as a union to put issues in perspective and state our stance, irrespective of the degree of condemnations that have trailed the brutal attack of our member, Mr Timothy Agbor, of the The Point Newspaper, by operatives of Directorate of State Services (DSS), Osun State Command.
While we are satisfactorily aware of the statutory obligation of the agency, as a security organisation saddled with the responsibility of nipping crimes in the bud through systematic and methodological intelligence gathering, we were taken aback by the negative interpretation of this germane role by the operatives in Osun.
Obviously, the psychological trauma caused by the agency to millions of electorates in the state, in the count down to 2014 gubernatorial election could be better imagined than experienced, when the operatives in masks invaded Osogbo, the state capital, with sporadic shootings and overt intent to intimidate and subdue the residents.
The journalists added, “without mincing words, operatives of the agency in Osun Command, by their conduct over the years appear to be totally bereft of their fundamental role in internal security arrangement and requisite orientation of civil interaction, more importantly, the statutory obligation of the media in democratic setting.
It is against this backdrop that we call on the presidency to quickly rise up to the occasion and swiftly intervene through it’s appropriate organ, to save our members from further assault and intimidation.
We demand for sanction of the erring officers without compromise, and a sound of warning to the command, as we continue to clamour for justice even beyond the shore of the country.
The journalists said, “we are convinced that our job is perfectly rooted in absolute conviction to serve as illuminators of the society, to make it fair, just and habitable.
We solidly salute the doggedness and courage of our members in the face of oppression and intimidation in the spirit of the literary giant, Prof Wole Soyinka, when he posited that “The man dies in him, who remains silent in the face of oppression” and the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, with this indelible postulation” It is not life that matters, but the courage you put into it”.