The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Nigeria Police Force to investigate the attack and detention of journalists by some agents of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
In an official statement issued on Monday, the MRA condemned the invasion of the Nigeria Union Of Journalists (NUJ) secretariat by SARS operatives.
MRA Programmer Editor, Ayode Longe said the detained journalists were released after two hours in custody.
Longe explained that on April 2, 2020 at about 6:28 pm, the officer in charge of Adamawa State SARS went to the NUJ secretariat while reporters were filing news reports to their different media organizations, using the internet services at the press centre due to the closure of business centres around the city.
Shortly after his visit, six Toyota Hilux vans filled with heavily armed police operatives invaded the press centre and beat up journalists, forcing journalists all 12 of them into the vehicles including the state chairman of the NUJ, Mr. Ishaku Dedan.
“By failing to take any punitive or disciplinary action against the police officers involved in the outrage, the Police authorities have ensured impunity for crimes against journalists in breach of Nigeria’s international commitments and obligations, a situation which is bound to encourage similar action in future as it sends a message to policemen everywhere that there will never be consequences for them for such unacceptable behaviou,” he said.
The MRA has threatened to issue a formal report to the United Nations Secretary-General, requesting that the UN General Assembly be notified of the case if Police fail to arrest and prosecute the SARS operatives before the time elapses.
MRA said that it would ensure that appropriate action can be taken against Nigeria for crimes against journalists in violation of several UN instruments.