The International Press Centre (IPC) has called on journalists and media professionals assigned to cover the upcoming gubernatorial election in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo States to prioritize their safety.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has scheduled the election to take place on Saturday.
In a statement released by the Executive Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, it was emphasized that this advice was crucial due to the reported tension and violent conflicts in the three states. Arogundade urged reporters to be aware of their surroundings, knowing when and how to retreat from dangerous situations.
Journalists were advised to maintain a non-partisan stance, dress appropriately, and move in groups while covering the election. Arogundade also encouraged them to maintain a reasonable distance when covering violent situations and to retreat as quickly as possible. He emphasized the importance of staying in contact with editors and close relations, and reporting any threats to the police, their media organizations, and professional bodies.
Arogundade called on other stakeholders, particularly security agencies, to carry out their duties in a professional manner. He specifically urged the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to implement measures to protect the rights of accredited journalists during the election. Additionally, he called on election observers and other stakeholders to provide accurate information to journalists, fostering collaboration for the success of the elections.
To ensure journalists’ safety during the elections, the International Press Centre for the Safety and Protection of Journalists will monitor the situation and operate a 24/7 situation room managed by press freedom and safety alert officers. Journalists under threat or attack can report to this room for assistance.