Following the battery and near-murder of a journalist, Yomi Olomofe, in Badagry, last week, the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) is set to file a wide range of law suits against the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), having briefed its lawyers on the incident.
Chairman of the union, Deji Elumoye, made this known in Lagos Tuesday in a statement issued in Ikeja on the steps taken so far to seek redress.
Elumoye said he was baffled that Olomofe, the executive director and chairman, editorial board of Badagry Prime newsmagazine, was last Thursday beaten to coma by smugglers in public, within the premises of the Seme Border Command of the NCS.
Wondering why a journalist going about his lawful duties would be so harassed and molested, Elumoye said that the union has instructed its team of lawyers to file charges, which include attempted-murder, aiding and abetting, manslaughter, harassment and assault, among others, against the NCS and some of its officers, in order to see that justice is done in the matter.
The union boss also vowed to ensure that the case is pursued to a logical conclusion. He enjoined journalists in the country not to be deterred by what happened to Olomofe, but brace up for more challenges in the course of duty, if they are to live up to their billing in exposing the ills and rot 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 said.
Elumoye reminded his colleagues and employers in the media business of the existing insurance scheme put in place by the union. He urged them to take advantage of the scheme for individual and collective benefits.