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JAMZ FM GM Attack: IPC demands compensation, attackers’ prosecution

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By Sunday Elom N

A Lagos-based media development and press freedom organisation, the International Press Centre, IPC, has condemned in strong terms a reported brutal attack on the general manager of JAMZ 100.1FM, Ibadan, Mr. Tony Awobode, by the divisional police officer, DPO from the Eleyele Police Station in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital and his men last Sunday.

While Orient Daily could not confirm the name of the DPO and his men, a report by Western Daily News had stated that Awobode, popularly known as Don Tee, was riding on a power bike when he was stopped by the DPO who alleged that his car mirror had been hit by the power bike when Awobode tried to cross towards the Aleshinloye axis of the city.

But, according to the report, Awobode told the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Oyo State Council, that he tried to explain to the DPO that there was no mark or sign of friction on the side mirror but that effort, rather, attracted further dehumanisation of his person, describing the attack as “a case of arbitrary use of naked power.”

Reacting to the attack and the persistent attacks on journalists and media practitioners in Nigeria, the executive director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a statement signed by the centre’s programme manager, Stella Nwofia, expressed shock over another police brutality against a media professional and the unending nightmare such acts have continued to constitute for the media in Nigeria.

According to Arogundade, “The highhanded and uncivilised manner in which some elements in the Nigeria police handle issues with journalists represents nothing but the continuing gross violation of their fundamental human rights.

“IPC, therefore, demands that all the perpetrators of the attack on Don Tee should be fished out and prosecuted in addition to the payment of adequate compensation and settlement of the medical bills of the victim.”

It went further to express dismay that despite the fact that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigerian (Amended) made litanies of provisions on human and media rights, Nigerian security agencies, especially the police, who ought to provide adequate security for media professionals have continued to brutalise, victimise and even kill journalists while on duty and off duty for no legally and morally justified reasons.”

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