Ibadan, – The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, Mr Ademola Babalola, has condemned the pre-election violence which claimed three lives and injured others in Ibadan.
Babalola said this in a statement by the NUJ Secretary, Sola Oladapo, on Friday in Ibadan.
He condemned the clash between the supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), on Thursday.
Babalola tasked security agencies to step up security for both the electorate and adhoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during and after Saturday’s gubernatorial and state Assembly polls.
He also called for the arrest of the pepertrators of the killings, saying that Oyo State should not be allowed to descend into “war of political thugs” and killing of innocent citizens and residents.
Babalola described the development as reprehensible, ungodly and barbaric.
He said that it should not have happened at all, if the gladiators had prevailed on their supporters to toe the path of honour and embrace peaceful conducts before, during and after the elections.
Babalola appealed to gubernatorial candidates in the state to caution their supporters to stop violent attacks and counter attacks.
Babalola noted that violence could threaten voters turn out and suppress participation in the election.
“The senseless attacks and attendant killings of three people in Ile-Titun area of Ibadan South East Local Government of the state ought not to have happened at all.
“This development has shown that our people are yet to learn their lessons that no blood of any individual is worth the aspiration of any candidate or their corresponding political party.
“It is a shame and highly reprehensible that in spite of the peace accord signed by the political parties and their governorship candidates, supporters could still go overboard and engage in supremacy battle to the extent of shedding blood.
“The NUJ views this development as condemnable, ugly, and ungodly. The security agents should ensure perpetrators of this act are brought to justice.
“Every life matters and culprits of this despicable act should be made to face the music accordingly.
“No candidate should be happy that those they plan to govern are being killed because of power tussle.
“We, in NUJ, think that politicians should allow electorate to decide their fates at the polls without threats of violence or killings,” he said.
The NUJ Chairman also tasked journalists to be wary of their “mad rush for breaking and unverified news”.
He urged them to filter and verify sources of their information, and carry out diligent investigation before pushing it out.
Babalola said that the modern day bloggers and social media influencers remain the worst culprits in this regard, warning them to refrain from being used as tools in the hands of desperate politicians.
He harped on ethics of journalism and professionalism which dwell on objectivity, fairness and factual reportage of events to ward off sensationalism and prejudice that could set the state on fire.
“As journalists, we should know that Oyo State must exist after elections, and we should embrace conflict sensitive reporting. We should be responsible with our reportage of news,” he added. (NAN)