Brussels- On 12 September, a group of soldiers broke into the Press Center of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), an IFJ affiliate, in Umuahia, Abia State in Nigeria. Once inside, they attacked journalists and destroyed equipment. The IFJ joined the NUJ in strongly condemning the unwarranted invasion.
During the attack on the press centre the soldiers alleged that the journalists present had taken their photo without their permission whilst on parade in Umuahia.
In a press statement, the NUJ expressed grave concerns in regards to the invasion of the press center condemning “in totality the conduct of the army at the NUJ Press Centre in Umuahia, Abia State” and demanding “immediate investigations into this macabre act”. The union also asked for an apology from the Chief of Army Staff for the reprehensible conduct of his soldiers and demanded that they be brought to justice.
The NUJ has also demanded payment for the medical bills of those who sustained injuries, as well as compensation for the furniture and equipment destroyed by the soldiers.
IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We are deeply shocked by the attitude of these soldiers and see this attack as a deliberate act of intimidation designed to cow and silence the media. We ask that the attackers be brought to justice immediately and demand the Nigerian government set the necessary conditions for journalists to carry out their duties without fear or intimidation”.