The secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Abuja Council came under the bulldozers of the Development Control of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), allegedly on the orders of the FCT minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed.
According to the official who simply identified himself as Mr. Bature, the District Officer for Utako, he was acting on the orders of the FCT Minister while shouting that “nobody can stop me from doing my work even if you the media or whatever you call yourself.”
Bature who came with a truck load of armed policemen also instructed the policemen to manhandle some photojournalists that were trying to take snapshots of the demolition exercise, had their cameras seized and left two of them, Rotimi Osasona of National Mirror Newspapers and Gbenga Olamikan of the Vanguard, badly beaten and are now receiving treatment at a private clinic.
The cameras of the duo which was later recovered from the office of the agency were badly damaged with their memories removed.
The NUJ in a statement said the demolition of structures in its premises is an affront on press freedom and abuse of power by officials of the FCDA, stressing that the Council would pursue the matter until justice is served.
Acting Chairman of the Council, Abdulrasheed Abdulkareem, who signed the statement, described the incident as unfortunate and one of the many sad developments against journalists in the country.
Abdulkareem listed items lost in the unfortunate incident to include: six transparent fridges, a four feet Thermocool freezer, a 32 inch LCD set and several plastic chairs and tables. Other items include several crates of drinks, glasses, and stereo set.
The Acting Chairman informed that the Union would pursue for the Development Control to compensate for all that were lost during the demolition while calling for the sanction of the officer who ordered that journalists be assaulted.