The Nigerian Union of Journalists, FCT Council, has expressed sadness at the death of Mr. Alex Ogbu, and demands for in-depth investigation into the circumstances leading to the tragic death.
The NUJ FCT in a statement on Thursday, said it seems to have become a pattern for journalists covering protest in Abuja to be targeted resulting in tragic outcomes.
“It is heart-rending to know that yet another journalist was felled in this seeming unending orgy of bloodletting in Abuja and other parts of the country. We at the NUJ are now asking if this is a pattern where journalists become victims in the legitimate pursuit of their profession as reporters?” Emmanuel Ogbeche, chairman of the council, stated in a press statement.
“It is barely seven months now that Precious Owolabi with Channels TV was cut down in his prime, only for Ogbu to die in a senseless manner.
“We demand that the FCT Police Command commences investigation into this death, one too many, and ensure that the officer(s) involved in this killing faces the full weight of the law. The police should know that any investigation without the inclusion of the union and National Human Rights Commission will amount to an exercise in futility,” the statement further reads.
“The NUJ will hold the police hierarchy responsible if justice is not served in this matter. We will ensure that if the Nigerian State fails, as it has continued to demonstrate, we will explore diplomatic channels to ensure that those who harass, intimidate and kill any journalist under any guise atemade to bear the brunt of such objectionable conduct,” the statement notes.
According to Ogbeche, a society that makes victims of journalists cannot make much progress as journalism thrives in an environment of safety, stability and sanctity of the rule of law.
He expressed the regret that Nigeria has become increasingly hostile to journalists and journalism, which he described as “counting hugely against Nigeria in the comity of nations.”
The NUJ chairman called on journalists to remember Mr. Ogbu and his young family in their prayers and urged them to consider their safety as paramount when covering protest, stressing that “no journalist should become the story.”
Ogbu until his death was a journalist with Regent Africa Times where he covered politics and was a critical voice in demanding for good governance.
Findings thus far by the Council show that the late Ogbu was felled by a stray bullet during a clash between the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) popularly known as Shi’ites and Police in Abuja.
Chairman of Council
Thursday, January 23, 2020.