A Federal lawmaker, Sen. Shehu Sani, has condemned the arrest and detention of Premium Times reporter, Mr Samuel Ogundipe, by the Nigeria Police Force.
Sani in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, while recognising the constitutional duties of the police to investigate breeches of the law, cautioned against acts that would portray it and the country in bad light.
He said that any act capable of tarnishing the image of the country, particularly as it approach the 2019 general elections should be avoided.
“The Police should treat the Premium Times and it’s journalists with dignity and respect.
“State apparatuses must balance professionalism and obligation to respect constitutional rights to freedom of speech and the press.
“Onslaught against the media rubbishes the image of security agencies, the government and the country,” he said.
The lawmaker noted that “no nation can be secured and safe without a searchlight and scrutiny on the moral conduct of its power and apparatuses.”
He added that “free press is the fortress and the bastion of democracy.
“Each time a journalist is manhandled or jailed, some pages of the constitution are mutilated.
“An attack on the media is an attack on the sacred component of democracy.
“The media is the guardian of our democracy. Premium times is a credible and reliable media outfit that has proven itself over the years as a dependable and objective medium, it must not be violated.
“When the media is assaulted and a journalist is jailed, a certain light of freedom over a nation is switched off.”