By Ajibola Abayomi, Funmi Falobi, Ekene Okoro andAdedayo Odulaja
Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State chapter, is set to sue the management of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital’s mortuary over an attack on Leadership Newspaper photojournalist, Benedict Uwalaka, by its officials on Thursday while covering the release of corpses of Dana plane crash at the hospital.
The chairman of the union, Deji Elumoye, in an interview told Saturday Independent that NUJ lawyers are already putting finishing touches into a case file to be filed in the court next week.
“The attack on the photojournalist is uncalled for and is strongly condemned. This is an infringement on the rights of Mr. Benedict Uwalaka as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of our great country.
“On the part of Lagos NUJ, we have mandated our team of lawyers to press charges against the management of the mortuary outfit at LASUTH. The lawyers are currently studying and hopefully by next week, they will file the necessary papers at a court in Ikeja,” he said.
Already a laywer, Adamu Ibrahim, has on behalf of Uwalaka petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Umaru Manko, to take action against the attackers while both International Press Center and Media Right agenda management have condemned the attack.
But on Friday, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola addressed State House correspondents and ordered a full-scale investigation into the development.
He said he was horrified by the act of barbarism displayed by the culprits just as he tendered his unreserved apology to the victim and his media organisation, assuring that he would ensure that those involved are brought to book.
“I make an unqualified apology on behalf of our government to the journalist concerned and the media house, Leadership and Thisday Newspaper. I tender a very unreserved apology. That is not us. I have since Friday asked the chief security officer to find out the officers and the men involved. It happened on our premises somehow. I am still not able to tell whether they are our staff or other organisation. Whatever the case may be we will conduct our investigation and we will bring those people to justice,” the governor said.