The leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has disowned the ten ‘journalists’ that were arrested by a combined team of soldiers and men of the Department of State Services, DSS, at a hotel in Benin City over alleged electoral offences.
According to the NUJ, the arrested persons are not journalists.
It would be recalled that the Army and the DSS arrested them at the Doublan Hotel on Airport Road, Benin at about 2am last week after what the Army said was a tip off.
The arrested persons, said to be working for a media organisation, Watchdog News, were said not to have disclosed their identity as at the time of arrest, but the editor of Watchdog news claimed they were in Benin to cover Wednesday’s governorship election in Edo State.
However, the Edo State Chairman of the NUJ, Roland Osakwe, while addressing reporters on behalf of the National President of the NUJ, Waheed Odunsile, in Benin City, said the suspects were unable to provide any form of identification linking them to any media house.
Osakwe said, “I must confess that the union was seriously embarrassed when it was discovered that the arrested persons were not practising journalists as their means of identification were misleading. Their contradictory claims of working with Watch Dog, a publication based in Abuja, did not add up.
“Although one of them had an invalid NUJ national identification card, their inability to explain their mission in the state and the established fact that they were not practising journalists, owing to the fact that none of them had any published story to their names, showed they were fake.
“Consequently, the national secretariat of the NUJ, particularly the President, who has been following the matter since it broke, has directed that the union publicly disclaim these fellows as a way of sending a clear message to those who find it most convenient to impersonate members of the pen profession for pecuniary gains.”
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