Following the battering of a journalist, Yomi Olomofe, in Badagry last week, allegedly by suspected smugglers, the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) is set to take legal action against the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Chairman of the Union, Comrade Deji Elumoye, made this known in Lagos on Tuesday in a statement issued in Ikeja. Elumoye said he was baffled that Olomofe, who is the Executive Director and Chairman, Editorial Board of Badagry Prime, a news magazine, was last Thursday beaten to a state of coma by smugglers, in the full glare of the public, within the premises of the Seme-Border Command of the Nigeria Customs Service.
Wondering why a journalist going about his lawful duties would be so harassed and molested, Elumoye noted that the leadership of the union has instructed its team of lawyers to file charges of attempted- murder, aiding and abetting, manslaughter, harassment and assault, among others, against the Service and some of its officers.
The union boss also vowed to ensure that the case is pursued to a logical conclusion, enjoining journalists in the country not to be deterred by what happened to “one of our colleagues” but rather brace up for more challenges in the course of duty, if they are to live up to their billing in exposing the ills and rots in the society.
“Customs and its officers are to be held responsible for this, because the incident happened within their territory. They had a duty to protect their visitors but they reneged in their duty.
“And why would they allow smugglers and hoodlums into their premises? Those are the people they are supposed to checkmate, but it seems they are now working together.
“They will have to explain to the law. We won’t be scared from doing our job. They think they can harass journalists from exposing smugglers, but they have failed. As a matter of fact, this will further spur us to work harder”, the statement further said. Elumoye also reminded his colleagues and employers in the media industry of the existing insurance scheme put in place by the union, urging them to take advantage of the scheme and key into it for individual and collective benefits.