The National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo on Wednesday condemned the alleged attack, assault and threats to life on a pregnant female journalist and twenty other journalists by a member of Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Mr Nkemka Onuma and his alleged political thugs numbering over 40 who carried dangerous weapons.
Thugs allegedly led by the member representing Afikpo South West constituency in the Assembly, Nkemka Onuma allegedly descended on the journalists and inflicted injuries on them, especially that of the Nation newspaper, Ogochukwu Anioke, Pilot Newspaper Samson Nwafor and a pregnant journalist, Mrs. Grace Egbo of the Tribune Newspaper who was also hit on her stomach and face.
Isiguzo who condemned the action of Onuma and the thugs demanded that the lawmaker should tender an unreserved apology for their action.
He also ordered that the medical bills of the victims should be taken care of by the lawmaker.
“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, they should also make sure that they are taken care of in the hospital because I learnt that one or two of those people is already in the hospital. So, they should take care of their bills in the hospital and assure us 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 cause trouble or problem to 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 said, “the lawmaker in question does not have powers to stop journalists from covering the Assembly as he threatened. It is a public place and it does not belong to that particular lawmaker or the Speaker, 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. They can’t even try it, the lawmaker was only trying to grandstand,” he stated.dp