The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Niger State Council, has condemned the verbal assault on the Niger State correspondent of the Voice of America (VOA), Nasiru Mustapha Batsari, by the Niger State Commissioner for Homeland Security, Major Gen. Bello Mohammed Abdullahi (rtd).
The council’s chairman, Comrade Abu Nmadu, said the verbal assault on a journalist who was carrying out his lawful mandate to society was an attempt to suppress the press to dance to the music of politicians.
Comrade Nmadu described the attack as unfortunate, shocking, and unacceptable, warning that the union will not tolerate such behaviour from any politician in the state.
He called on the state governor, Mohammed Umaru Bago, to caution members of his cabinet whose attitude to the press was contrary to his New Niger Agenda.
Similarly, the chairman of Correspondents Chapel in the state, Yakubu Mustapha Bina, said the chapel would no longer accept any form of harassment, threat, and intimidation of its members from the state public office holders.
The commissioner was said to have assaulted and attempted to seize the midget of the Voice of America reporter, Mustapha Nasiru Batsari, in government house Minna when the reporter approached him for a comment on the lingering clash between Fulani and Gbagyi farmers in Beji, Bosso LGA of the state, which had claimed lives.
Mustapha Batsari disclosed that he had called the commissioner several times via a telephone without a response.
The reporter said he went to his office but did not meet him, and he decided to approach him in the government house to get the side of the government on the report he was working on but the commissioner rained abuse on him and attempted to seize his midget.