Journalist were covering story at party secretariat
Some suspected political thugs of a faction of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Ogun State Chapter, on Thursday attacked three journalists at the party’s secretariat at Moshood Abiola Way, Abeokuta.
The thugs earlier arrived the party secretariat with an alleged plan to disrupt a scheduled meeting of the harmonisation committee inaugurated by the APC national leadership.
The attacked journalists were Kunle Ojo (Galaxy Television) Taofeek Lawal (MITV) and Dupe Sobukola (Radio Nigeria, Paramount F.M). They sustained injuries, and their cameras phones, money and other personal effects were seized by the alleged thugs. They were later taken to hospital and a report on the incident made to the police.
The journalists were at the secretariat to cover the political crisis in the party. Other journalists present managed to escape through foot and bush paths.
The Ogun APC, just like the ACN before it, is split into two factions: one headed by a former governor, Olusegun Osoba, and the other by Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
After the attack on journalists, the chairman of the Ogun State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Wole Shokunbi, said the union would blacklist APC in the state.
“The attention of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ogun state Council has been drawn to the dastardly act by some suspected members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and that of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in Ogun State on some members of the Union at the APC secretariat today, Thursday, January 9, 2014. The leadership of the Council, following preliminary report and investigation on the matter, at the interim, has forthwith subsequently blacklisted all activities relating to the party and that of the NURTW in the state,” Mr. Shokunbi declared in a statement.
He explained that the affected journalists had visited the APC secretariat to follow up on reports of a free-for-all among APC members.
“It is therefore disheartening that journalists who had a legitimate assignment at the venue would be turned to punching bags and scapegoats,” Mr. Shokunbi said.
He disclosed that the injured journalist, apart from being assaulted, had collectively lost two cameras, five mobile phones and N18, 000 to the hoodlums.
“The union has also formally reported the incident to the police and is demanding for the recovery of these items in the next 24 hours upon which further action, which is not limited to legal action, would be taken on the matter,” Mr. Shokunbi said.
The union also advised political parties in the state to play the “game” according to the rules. He said politicials should always remember that journalists would not shy away from discharging their duties with very high ethical standard.
In his reaction, hours after the attack, the Interim Party Chairman of the APC, Tajudeen Bello, put the blame on loyalists of Mr. Osoba.
Mr. Bello said “it is so unfortunate that such a thing will be happening in the days of progress of Ogun state.”
“However, immediately after the attack which was so much unexpected, we learnt that our revered leader, Chief Olusegun Osoba also came with members of the national assembly and bragged that he was spoiling for a fight.
“I will not believe that he said so because he happened to be a builder of the party, and what you build, you don’t destroy and as an elder stateman, every expectation was for him to play a mediatory role in any issue whatsoever,” he added.
Mr. Bello alleged that while Mr. Osoba was addressing the press, “there were sporadic gunshots” alluding that the gunshots were from Mr. Osoba’s supporters.
He described the constitution of the committee as a charade adding that it was unfortunate the new dimension being introduced into Ogun politics.
“It was a surprise that a new dimension is being introduced into the politicking of Ogun state more so from the so called responsible politicians that people give very high regard,” he said.
“As a party and based on the directive from the national headquarters, what we were expecting and which will soon be announced to the people is the issue of preparation for membership at various levels.
“But unfortunately, early this morning some of our staff at the secretariat announced that some hoodlums came to attack them for no just course; and in the process they wounded some of our staff there.”