The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Yobe State has suspended Uche Friday Uche of the People’s Daily newspaper accused of raping a four-year old girl.
The police took Mr Uche into custody last Friday after his neighbour, a soldier, alleged that he raped his infant daughter.
Addressing an emergency meeting of the union in Damaturu on Saturday, the Yobe State chairperson of the NUJ, Rajab Mohammed, said Mr Uche is suspended from the union until he is cleared by the courts of the allegation.
Mr Mohammed said the police had arraigned the journalist before a magistrate’s court after five days in police custody.
Following his failure to meet his bail conditions, he was taken to the Potiskum Medium Correctional Facility pending further police investigations.
Mr Mohammed said NUJ officials had initially waded into the matter after being informed of Mr Uche’s arrest until the medical report of an hospital which examined the girl confirmed bruises on her genitals.
He said the NUJ as a critical stakeholder in the fight against gender-based violence, rape and other related offences, decided to allow the law to take its course on the matter.
“The Union wishes to categorically state that, henceforth, acts of indiscipline, extortion, intimidation and other forms of unethical conducts will not be tolerated. Anyone found guilty will be dealt with accordingly,” Mr Mohammed said.
He said while the NUJ would always stand by its members unjustly intimidated, molested, manhandled or abused in the course of discharging their professional duties, “members should not take this protection for granted to look for trouble, especially in their personal lives.
“The NUJ wishes to let the public know that we are a disciplined organisation, law-abiding and critical stakeholders in transparency and accountability at all levels.
“Therefore, the NUJ disassociates itself from unlawful acts and would continue to fight injustice no matter who is involved to secure justice for everyone.
“Finally, I wish to officially announce the indefinite suspension of Uche Friday Uche from NUJ until the determination of the case and he is cleared by the court,” Mr Mohammed said.
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