Media and Politics Media Watch News

Police, SSS Unwarranted Media Crackdown

Being a journalist in Nigeria is becoming too risky, no thanks to the rising onslaught against media practitioners by overzealous security agents. In a crackdown reminiscent of the brutal era of military dictatorship, the Nigeria Police Force and State Security Service agents have resorted to the harassment of journalists on flimsy grounds. There is no justification for these draconian measures by the security agents. Without a free press, democracy is doomed. The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and the SSS Director-General, Lawal Daura, should take action against officers who overstep their bounds in the line of duty.
Recently, Daily Independent and Daily Trust journalists have tasted the bitter pill of repression in the hands of the SSS and police officers. Tony Ezimakor, the Abuja bureau chief of the Independent, was the first to experience the crackdown when he was detained by the SSS for about a week in February without charges. According to the newspaper, Ezimakor honoured an invitation from the SSS over a story he wrote about the missing Chibok girls, but he ended up in detention. This is arbitrary, a clear abuse of the intelligence agency’s powers.
In tow, the police descended on Musa Kirshi, the Daily Trust’s correspondent, on March 13, on the National Assembly premises. His offence was that he facilitated an advert publication in that newspaper, which allegedly offended the interests of Governor Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State. Kirshi was released after some hours but this is a sign that neither the police nor the SSS understands that it has the duty to promote the law and gather intelligence for the common good. By leaving their main duties and surrendering to the ephemeral whims of political office holders, both agencies are subverting the law, and unjustifiably so.Click to continue reading.

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