Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the growing incidence of violent attacks and detention of journalists by government officials as a sign that constitutional democracy was deteriorating in Nigeria.
HURIWA spoke against the backdrop of the report of physical brutality meted on a journalist, Mr. Abayomi Adeshida, and the destruction of his working gadgets at the State House by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) attached to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
In a statement Friday in Abuja signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said there was a well-choreographed and coordinated attack against the media by the government.
“Nigeria is currently buffeted by all kinds of violence and attacks targeting purveyors of information and persons seen by federal and state government officials as independent-minded and because of the growing intolerance of plurality of opinions, holders of political power have unleashed brute force of state security forces to maintain the hook on power. The primary reason for this spate of attacks on the press is the high rate of official corruption by politically exposed persons in Nigeria,” HURIWA said.
In another development, the group has asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to comply with extant court orders and free Omoyele Sowere and Olawale Bakare on bail with immediate effect.It stated that the ongoing violation of the binding bail orders issued by a competent court of law is a gross violation of the constitution.
It also accused the Federal Government of displaying gross insensitivity by closing the country’s land borders.
The group expressed shock that such policy was adopted with little or no consideration for the commercial and economic rights and legitimate business interests of millions of Nigerians who are cross-border entrepreneurs.