Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has described as an act of aggressive and misplaced terrorism, the shooting of The Nation’s correspondent by operatives of the Nigeria Police in Osun.
The group condemned the shooting which happened on Tuesday when the Nation’s correspondent, Toba Adedeji was covering students’ protest at Orita Olaiya.
HURIWA said it is regrettable that the Nigeria Police force has not learnt any positive lessons from the nationwide protests last year in which millions of Nigerians demonstrated against its brutality, aggression and gross human rights violations.
HURIWA lamented that due to the ineffective leadership of the Police Service Commission, PSC, there is a steady spike in cases of professional misconduct, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to reorganise the hierarchy of the PSC given that the current leadership has become lethargic and unproductive.
HURIWA in the statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said it is simply an act of terrorism against media freedoms for the men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force to turn their guns against media workers whose profession revolves around bringing information about the activities of government to the people.
The rights group said the reason why the police operatives have continued to torture and kill journalists is that cases that have happened in recent times were swept under the carpets, adding that the Police authority is much more concerned about covering up the evil practices of their operatives than ensuring that those who go against the law are sternly reprimanded and sanctioned in line with the due process of the law.
HURIWA said it is incumbent on the citizens of Nigeria to resist any attempt by security forces to undermine the enjoyment of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights and must at every time resist the attempt to frustrate the job of the members of the fourth estate of the realm whose responsibilities are protected under Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which makes the media as the conscience of the nation and the Vanguard of good governance.
The organisation said the moment the media becomes too scared to monitor the activities of government then democracy will die a natural death.
HURIWA blames the widespread Police impunity and lawlessness for the demise of professionalism and discipline amongst the ranks and file just as the Rights group tasked the Inspector-General of Police Alhaji Usman Alkali Baba to ensure that the police operatives comply with the Nigeria Police Act of 2020 which obliges them to adhere strictly to the due process of the law, respect fundamental human rights of the citizens and to operate within the guidelines that oblige the operatives to adhere to best global practices.
HURIWA has also called for the arrest and prosecution of the police operatives who shot at the journalist.
It, therefore, called on the Inspector-General of Police to investigate the unprovoked attack against the correspondent of The Nation Newspaper in Osun State and to pay adequate compensation.