*Ebonyi state government feared behind the attack
Nigeria Union of Journalists views with grave concern the continued threat to life of an Abakaliki-based journalist Charles Otu. He was attacked and beaten to pulp about three weeks ago by members of a Youth Assembly who were allegedly acting on the orders of some politicians who felt angered by media reports that were said to be critical of the Ebonyi State Government,
According to a statement signed by Shuaibu Usman Leman, the Walin Shadalafiya and National Secretary of the NUJ, “Charles who was abducted by these political thugs was taken to the Cabinet Office in Abakaliki where he was thoroughly beaten to the point of going into coma. He was consequently taken to hospital by sympathisers who took him away from the Kpirikpiri Police station where he was taken to for allegedly having been attacked by a mob.
Attacks like this constitute a threat to Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Expression and are a constant reminder that new threats for the media continue to manifest in various forms and this feeds into the sense of impunity and encourages further violence against the media. We regret that such acts of impunity are being encouraged by Government officials who do not want any criticism of the Government they serve under.
This new security situation increases risks to journalists’ safety at work. It also means that journalists, their organisations and employers are now daily being threatened in different ways and these negate the tenets of democracy. Certainly, the Ebonyi Stae Government must offer convincing reasons to exonerate itself from this dastardly act if at all they will be taken seriously as a defender of not only press freedom but of all forms of human rights.
We call for an end to these acts of impunity and crimes against Journalists, especially to CHARLES OTU whose life is daily being threatened by political thugs being sponsored by yet to be identified highly placed politicians in Abakaliki.
While the NUJ will hold the Ebonyi State Government responsible for any mishap that may occur against Journalists in the state, particularly to Charles OTU, we call on the Inspector General of Police to act immediately on the petition sent to him by the victim’s Lawyer.
We finally reiterate our commitment to press freedom and the pursuit of justice and protection for Journalists nationwide.