Edo election: NUJ disowns arrested ‘journalists’

THE National leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists has said the ten persons currently in the custody of the Department of State Services for electoral related offences are not journalists.

The arrested persons had claimed that they were in Edo State for the coverage of Wednesday’s governorship election.

But while addressing journalists in Benin City on Monday on behalf of the National President of the NUJ, Waheed Odunsile, the chairman of the NUJ in Edo State, Roland Osakwe, said the suspects were unable to provide any form of identification linking them to any media house.

He 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.”

He urged members to ensure they were properly accredited before the coverage of the election so as to avoid clashes with security agents.