Update On Journalists Shot At Lagos APC Rally……War Of Words Between Journalists & Sanwo-Olu Camp
The update on the 3 journalists who were wounded by gunshots and pellets on Tuesdays APC rally, has started brewing a war of words between the journalist led International Press Centre (IPC), and the Sanwo-Olu camp. It would be recalled that on Wednesday, the IPC condemned the incident in a press release below..
IPC condemns shooting of journalists at APC Lagos Rally
The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria is highly concerned about the reported gun-attack on journalists who were covering the Lagos State rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. According to news reports, among those that were affected by the unwelcome activities of gun wielding elements were the group political editor of The Nation Newspaper, Emmanuel Oladesu, New Telegraph correspondent, Temitope Ogunbanke and Ibile Television cameraman, Abiodun Yusuf. The News Editor of The Nation confirmed the incident to IPC stating that Mr. Oladesu was hit by a stray bullet and was receiving treatment in a hospital although in stable condition.
IPC hereby reminds all political parties that the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage obligates them to ensure the safety of journalists covering their activities including campaigns. IPC therefore calls on the Lagos APC to urgently take appropriate steps to apprehend the alleged perpetrators of the bizarre attack with a view to handing them over to the law enforcement agencies for immediate prosecution, also as provided by the Code of Election Coverage.
IPC calls on all journalists covering the ongoing campaigns to keep themselves abreast of all safety measure. They should learn to stay away from political activities where rival gangs engage in show of force especially through display of weapons. Journalists covering the elections should also bear in mind that they constitute dangerous assignments requiring them to take insurance cover especially from their employees.
IPC appeals to the security agents on electoral duty, especially the Police, to consider the protection of journalists as part of their responsibility as envisaged by and indeed provided for by the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage.
In a swift response on Thursday, the Sanwo-Olu Media Centre released a press report, insisting that the injured journalists were now ok and that the IPC report was unprofessional. The release signed by Gboyega Akosile jas irked a lot of journalists who see his counter release as oppressive and insulting on the media profession, considering that press men were shot and injured at a rally which was supposed to be peaceful and well secured. Read the Sanwo-Olu press release below.
APC RALLY: INJURED JOURNALISTS ARE NOW FINE
Our attention has been drawn to reports published by some media outlets following a press statement by the International Press Centre on the purported shooting of three journalists at Tuesday’s flag off the All Progressives Congress gubernatorial campaign rally held at the Sky Power Grounds in Ikeja, Lagos.
The statement is inaccurate and not a representation of what happened at the well-attended and highly successful flag off campaign. Over 50 journalists were accredited to cover the event and a special arrangement was made to guarantee their safety with the provision of a dedicated media platform. At no point was any member of the media harassed, threatened or molested throughout the period of the campaign. Journalists moved freely from one point to another in the expansive field and no one was censored.
For the records, the campaign began at 10 O’clock in the morning with several events lined up, such as endorsements and open declaration of support for our candidate, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu. There was music, dance and jubilation by party faithful who came out en masse to witness the epoch-making event. The State Party Chairman, Alhaji Tunde Balogun, assisted by the incumbent Governor of Lagos State. Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, presented the official flag of the party to our standard bearer, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
While His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, remarks was going on, sounds suspected to be gun shots rented the air. Characteristically, people who were close to where the sound came from ran for dear lives.
Unfortunately, some three journalists, Emmanuel Oladesu of the Nation newspaper, Temitope Ogunbanke of the New Telegraph newspaper and Abiodun Yusuf of Ibile TV were caught up in the melee, orchestrated by two factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW). They sustained injuries and were rushed to the hospital for treatment. These gentlemen had since been discharged and had returned to their various duty posts. Our office is in touch with the affected journalists.
Rather than celebrate inaccuracies, the IPC should have expressed concern and asked pertinent questions on why there was security breach at such a highly mobilized political gathering. The body should have bothered itself on where the policemen were when the perpetrators carried out the criminal act. We encourage our media partners to seek clarification from our office on matters relating to our campaign before going to the press. That is the minimum requirement for ethical journalism.
For Babajide Sanwo-Olu Media Centre
09 January 2019.
What do you think of these war of words in such an unfortunate situation?