3rd July, 2023
By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has asked police to as a matter of urgency, dismantle the road block mounted at the entry point of Moscow Road leading to its secretariat in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The call was contained in a statement signed by the chairman and secretary of NUJ in the State, Comrades Stanley Job Stanley and Ike Wigodo, respectively on Monday.
The demand was also part of the resolutions reached at the last congress of the council.
Rivers NUJ said the call became imperative in view of the excesses of the policemen stationed at the entry point of the road, who often harass journalists and turn back visitors who intend to do business with journalists at the Press Centre.
The statement noted with dismay that apart from denying journalists and their visitors free access to the NUJ Press Centre at Moscow Road, the road block also prevents free flow of traffic into the complex.
NUJ said it could no longer endure the continued harassment of its members and their visitors whenever they choose to access the NUJ Press Centre.
According to the statement, NUJ decided to make the call public because several appeals made to the previous Commissioners of Police in the State to dismantle the road block had been rebuffed.
The statement reminded the Police Command that the NUJ Secretariat otherwise known as the Press Centre, all over the world, is a melting pot for Journalists and their visitors and could be accessed at any time without let or hindrance.
“Yes, we appreciate the efforts of the Police Command in tackling crimes and criminality in Rivers State, and as a worthy partner in securing lives and property, our members have assisted the Police in reporting some of its activities and achievements. But we can no longer condone a situation where journalists would be denied free access to their secretariat.
“We want to remind the Rivers State Police Command that the NUJ Secretariat, otherwise known as the Press Centre, is a melting pot for journalists. It’s a place where journalists meet on daily basis to interact, share ideas and information among themselves. Call it Journalists Mess. It’s also a place where members of the public can easily access journalists freely. On no account should such a place be made difficult to access either by journalists themselves or by members of the public.
“We, therefore, call on the Rivers State Commissioner of Police to, without further delay, order the dismantling of the road block mounted by his men at the entry point of Moscow Road leading to NUJ Secretariat, withdraw his men from that point and move closer to its headquarters”, the statement added.
Our correspondent reports that the roadblock was mounted during the nationwide #ENDSAR protests over two year ago at the popular Moscow road junction, which leads to Rivers NUJ Secretariat, Rivers State House Assembly complex, Police Command Headquarters, NNPC, Court of Appeal, Polaris Bank among others.