Stop Treating Journalists As Endangered Species – IPC To Security Operatives

The International Press Centre(IPC), has again condemned the recent harassment and molestation of the publisher of WikkiTimes online newspaper, Haruna Mohammed.

Mohammed and one of the reporters, Idris Kamal, were alleged to have been recently harassed and molested by the Police in Bauchi State.

The ordeal of the two journalists was said to have began on Monday, June 27, 2022, when they honoured an invitation from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) following a petition by one Yakubu Shehu Abdullahi, a member of the House of Representatives representing Bauchi Federal Constituency concerning a Wikki Times report of May 18, 2022 on the sudden death of the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bauchi Local Government area of the state.

The journalists, as stated in the press statement on Tuesday evening made available to DAILY POST in Jalingo by IPC, arrived at the station at about 10am on Monday but after making a statement they were clamped into a cell where they alleged that they were physically assaulted.

Despite the presence of their lawyer at the Police Station, DAILY POST learnt that they were not set free until about 10 hours later and asked to report back on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 for further interrogation.

The two journalists, according to the release “Again reported at the SCIID Bauchi on Tuesday as directed but were promptly taken before a Bauchi Magistrates Court where they were charged for criminal conspiracy, defamation of character and cyber-stalking.

“The court ruled that they should be held in custody until tomorrow, Wednesday June 29, 2022.”

Piqued by the development, the Executive Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, in the statement said, “IPC is worried about this trend of events and calls on the Police Command in Bauchi to avoid being used as tools of harassment against the journalists.

“Since the petitioner alleged defamation, the Police should have in the first instance advised him to seek legal redress instead of illegally detaining the journalists for 10 hours on Monday, June 27, 2022 and subjecting them to physical and mental harassment in the process.”

He added that “it now behooves on the Police authorities in the State to ensure the safety of Mohammed and Kamal."

He urged security agencies to desist from treating journalists as endangered species in Nigeria.

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