Media Rights Agenda rejects DSS probe of ‘assault’ on journalist
Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has stated that it has no confidence in the proposed investigation by the Department of State Services (DSS) into the alleged assault on Oluwagbemiga Olamikan, a photojournalist with Vanguard newspaper.
WITHIN NIGERIA had earlier reported that officials of the DSS had allegedly harassed Olamikan at the federal high court, Abuja while taking pictures of Sunday Igboho’s supporters who were brought to court.
Reacting to the allegation, a public relations officer of the service identified as Peter Afunanya said the agency will investigate the incident.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Obioma Okonkwo, MRA’s legal officer, said the DSS cannot investigate itself.
“The idea that the DSS plans to investigate itself in order to bring about a resolution of this matter is offensive to any concept of justice or fairness and runs counter to the well established legal principle of fairness that you cannot be a judge in your own cause,” she said.
“if anyone has any doubt about the inherent lack of credibility of such a process, the person needs to look no further than the statement made by Dr. Peter Afunanya, the public relations officer of the DSS, on August 3 in announcing the plan by the security agency to conduct an investigation and even before any investigation has started, that the DSS is a responsible security organisation with a good working relationship with the media and so could not have assaulted journalists.”
According to MRA’s statement, Okonkwo described the proposed investigation “as an exercise in futility that is merely designed to whitewash the incident which has serious implications for Nigeria’s international treaty obligations to ensure the safety of journalists as well as to investigate, prosecute and punish perpetrators of attacks against journalists”.
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