Zamfara NUJ Commends Police for Saving Journalist, Upholding Press Freedom
The Zamfara State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists has commended Talatar Mafara Divisional Police Officer, DPO, SP Bello Bubayero for saving a journalist from illegal detention and harassment thereby upholding the principle of free press.
The commendation which was conveyed to the DPO through a letter addressed to him came in the wake of his display of professionalism when he saved a broadcast journalist with Wonderland Televison, Lawal Tsalha who was taken to the Talatar Mafara police station by a police officer attached to the Mafara Emir’s place allegedly on the instruction of the Emir, Alhaji Bello Muhammad Barmo.
The police officer, Sargent Ashiru Mohammed who is on the Escort of the Mafara Emir effected the arrest of the reporter who was at the palace to cover a marriage dispute reconciliation involving a teenage girl, Maryam Abubakar who was allegedly married out to an elderly person without her consent.
The wedding fatiha of the teenage girl was allegedly conducted by one of the District Heads of Talatar Mafara Alh. Muhammadu Marafan Mafara at 11pm of the first week of Ramadan and the girl rejected the wedlock.
While at the palace, the reporter was not allowed to attend the reconciliation sitting which was facilitated by an NGO Human Rights Network.
However, the reporter waited for the parties involved in the matter to come out so that he can have an interview with them.
At the end of the meeting, he went in to interview the Royal Highness, who said he would not grant the interview.
In the same vein, the WTV reporter contacted Maryam, her mother, her brother and stepfather who agreed to grant him an interview outside the palace.
While the interview was taking place, one of the palace guards at the palace of the Emir of Mafara Alh Bello Muhammd Barmo informed the emir on the development who instantly instructed his police escort to arrest the reporter and bring him back to the palace where the monarch asked him to delete the interviews he recorded.
The WTV’s reporter told the monarch that the interviews he recorded were so important and did not breach his journalism ethics, and could not delete them.
In an anger, the royal father instructed his police escort to seize the reporter’s camera and take him to the police station for detention.
At the police station, the DPO asked WTV’s reporter on what has actually happened, and after hearing his statement he set the reporter free as what he did was not against his ethics.
When the NUJ Zamfara state council heard about the incidence, it wrote a letter of appreciation to the Divisional Police Officer for protecting the journalism ethics.
The letter reads “we write on behalf of the entire practicing journalists in Zamfara to extend the NUJ’s appreciation over your singular effort to stand and protect the ethics of our profession while defending our member and colleague, Lawal Tsalha in the course of discharging his responsibility in Talatar Mafara on Sunday, 9/5/2021.”
“Your quick intervention to stop callous police personnel under your division from hindering Lawal Tsalha of the Wonderland Television only speaks well of the Inspector General of the Police derive in community policing and maintenance of good working relationship with the media.”