The national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists has reacted to the Tuesday attack on some journalists at the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.
The Union’s National President, Comrade, Chris Isiguzo, in his reaction condemned the action of a lawmaker in the State, Nkemka Onuma, and his alleged thugs, demanding for apology over their undesirable action.
He further insisted that the medical bills of the victims should be taken care of by the lawmaker, while the leadership of the State Assembly should issue a statement guaranteeing the safety of journalists in and around the chambers during events.
Isiguzo demanded: “I am yet to get the full details of what really happened in Ebonyi state House of Assembly but if what we read is anything to go by, it is shocking and totally unbecoming for an Honourable member of a House of Assembly to have abandoned his legislative duty to begin to unleash mayhem on innocent journalists in Ebonyi state.
“It is totally unacceptable to us and we demand that Ebonyi state House of Assembly should not just apologize to those people that were manhandled but should also make sure that they are taken care of in the hospital because I learnt that one or two of those people are already in the hospital.
“So, they should take care of their bills in the hospital and assure all journalists of their safety in that House of Assembly.
“There is no way that the legislature which is of course, part of the ingredients of democracy in governance will still be the one to causing trouble or problem against the safety of journalists in Ebonyi state.
“So the attack is totally unacceptable and we think in the next couple of hours, the House of Assembly should do the needful.”
On the threat to prevent journalists from covering activities of the Assembly, Isiguzo dismissed it as mere empty threat, adding that no single or group of lawmakers have such powers.
According to him, the lawmaker, by the threat, was simply trying to “grandstand” as the Assembly complex is a public place and it does not belong to that particular lawmaker or even the Speaker.
He said: “It is a public institution and they don’t have right or such powers to bar any journalist from covering the state House of Assembly.
“It will never happen.
“If they try it, we will take the next line of action.”