NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS
The Nigeria Union of Journalists is sadden by the killing yesterday of a Reporter with the Channels Television in Abuja while covering a protest by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. We regret the sudden violent turn of events during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest by the IMN members who were demanding the release of their leader, Shick Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The Reporter-Precious Owolabi who was on national service died of bullet wounds sustained during the coverage of the protest. It was not clear who actually fired the fatal shots. A Deputy Commissioner of Police, in charge of Operations at the FCT Police Command, Umar Usman equally died from gun shots sustained during the violent protest.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists demands for a thorough investigation to ascertain those responsible for the death of 23 year old Precious and bring such persons to account for their crime.
We regret the death of this young professional occasioned by the rising threats being faced by Journalists on daily basis while performing their duties. Until recently, outside war zones and other conflict areas, journalists usually didn’t have to be too much concerned about safety issues, but unfortunately today, media professionals are facing a whole new set of occupational hazards. We are worried by these dangerous trends and note with disgust that Nigeria is shifting down in the overall press freedom rankings.
While we grieve with the family of the deceased journalist, we caution media organizations against sending young and inexperienced journalists to cover dangerous assignments that ideally should be given to experienced professionals who are better prepared and equipped to carry out such duties.