*Police sabotaged previous efforts
In order to safeguard the integrity of the Journalism profession, the Lagos council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) says it has started a clampdown on fake journalists.
Mr Deji Elumoye, Chairman of the council, on Monday in Lagos said that the union had set up a committee to tackle the problem.
He said that fake journalists, who usually extort the public, were denting the good image of the profession.
“We are doing our best to ensure that quackery is erased from journalism profession. In Lagos, we observe that there are a lot of fake journalists and they are always found in public places like hotels and event centres.”
“We also discover that they harass and molest top government functionaries and other members of the society. We have had a lot of reports from members of the public, so we began our investigations and set up a seven-man committee to monitor and look at the issue of quackery in the metropolis.”
“The committee has since swung into action and in 2016, they were able to make some arrests,“ he said.
Elumoye said that two of the fake journalists, who usually go about with fake identification cards, were arrested at the Lagos Airport Hotel and the Sheraton Hotel, both in Ikeja.
“These cases were reported to the NUJ leadership and we handed over the suspects to the Police,” he said.
Elumoye, however, said that the Police released the suspects on bail without charging them to court.
He said that the council was evolving a new strategy to tackle the menace in 2017 and the NUJ was going to seek the support the police at the highest level.
“This is 2017. We want to engage the leadership of the state police command in Lagos to let them know our reservations of the past, maybe it was not to the knowledge of the Commissioner of Police. Now, we want them to know that any arrests made again, we would take the suspects straight to the police command and ensure they are prosecuted,” he said.
Elumoye said that the union was waiting for the police authority to finish its ongoing restructuring involving transfers before embarking on its 2017 vision to sanitise the profession.
He said it was fraudulent for journalists who had been sacked from their organisations to go on parading themselves as journalists.
According to him, such act amounts to impersonation, which is a criminal offence.