By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
A body of senior journalists of Southeast extraction, known as Izunwanne has condemned in the strongest terms the attacks on media houses (The Nation newspaper, Television Continental (TVC), and Channels Television) in Lagos on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
The group also called on federal and state government to engage the aggrieved youths in a healthy conversation so that there could be a lasting solution to their grievances.
The group in a statement cosigned by it’s Chairman, Abuchi Anueyiagu and National Secretary Ngwuoke Ngwuoke on Thursday expressed worry that the attack could lead to heavy loss of jobs and financial investments at a time of severe economic headwinds in the country.
The group expressed solidarity with its colleagues in the media houses that have suffered these attacks, while calling for immediate stop of further destruction.
The group expressed suspicion that such attacks could be an attempt to muzzle the media, attack the freedom of the press and diminish the right of individuals and groups to freedom of association and the right to establish organs for free expression.
“The 1999 Nigerian constitution provides the legal cover for the functioning of the press in Nigeria. It charges the press to play a watchdog role in the society.
“Section 11, chapter 2, sub-section 22 stipulates that “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.”
“Divergence of views and perspectives on politics or social issues does not give anyone the right or freedom to destroy media organs or public and private properties. The Constitution again protects the rights to own media” Izunwanne reminded the rioters”.
The media group was visibly disturbed by the attacks on cities in southern Nigeria.
“From Lagos, the attacks have spread to Aba, Abakaliki, Enugu, Owerri, Calabar, Benin, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Orlu, etc. It has included setting fire to public infrastructure, such as police stations, Local government council buildings, government commercial enterprises, roads, as well as privately owned establishments such as banks, hotels, etc and breaking of prisons and other public facilities.
“We are worried about the conflagration and the violent dimension it’s now taking.
“We call on the Federal government, governments of the states and cities where these acts of arsons have taken place, or are taking place, to peacefully resort to dialogue with the irate youngsters and rise to government responsibilities of not allowing anarchy to reign. They should at all times ensure peace, fairness, equity and unity of Nigeria in the scheme of things”.
They appealed on the restive youngsters to avoid being used by evil agents to engage in any act of hooliganism and willful vandalism of lives, private and public properties.