The Nigeria Union Of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has warned the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies in the state not to harass, intimidate or molest journalists who are on essential duties to report the total lockdown ordered by the Rivers State Government in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor local government areas of the state.
The Union stated that journalists should be given unhindered movement to enable them observe and report the level of compliance within the two local government areas under lockdown.
The NUJ, in a statement signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Stanley Job Stanley and Ike Wigodo respectively, disclosed that the Union had agreed with the State Police Command to allow journalists move with their identity cards as appropriate authorisation during the lockdown.
The NUJ said, although the Union enjoys good relationship with the security agencies in the state, the statement became imperative in view of the fears expressed by its members on the proviso contained in the press release by the state government on Monday.
The state government, while announcing a total lockdown in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor local government areas, had said that only those who render essential services and with appropriate authorisation would be allowed movement during the lockdown.
The 24-hour lockdown which begins today, according to the state government, was part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
The NUJ warned that it would not take it kindly with any security agency that violates the rights of its members on duty during the lockdown.
The Union, however, urged its members who would be on duty during the period of the lockdown to stay safe, wear face masks and adhere to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) advisories on the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Union also advised its members to move with their identity cards and avoid sensational reports, while urging the security agencies to be civil in their interactions with the journalists.
Stanley Job Stanley