Friday 12 April 2024

Lagos SWAN holds congress despite police intimidation

. Addresses members’ welfare

The Lagos State chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (Lagos SWAN) convened its congress on Thursday, April 11, at the National Stadium in Surulere.

The gathering addressed critical issues concerning the association's well-being and the welfare of its members, despite the heavy presence of some men of the Nigerian Police Force reportedly deployed from the Area C Police Command under the instruction of the Commissioner of the Police, Lagos State Command, Adegoke Fayoade.

The Lagos SWAN Chairman, Debo Oshundun, highlighted that the congress provided the state executive with an avenue to engage members on policies, recent developments and future objectives for the association. 

He also addressed concerns regarding the emergence of unauthorised splinter groups, emphasising the chapter's collaboration with the national executive of National SWAN, led by Isaiah Benjamin, to address this issue and uphold SWAN's journalistic standards.

With over 40 members present, the congress had in attendance some former chairmen of Lagos SWAN, such as Frank Ilaboya, MD/CEO, Sportsville Communication Limited; Tony Ubani, Sports Editor, Vanguard Newspaper; Niyi Oyeleke of Supersport.

During the meeting, Ilaboya commended members for their resilience in the face of intimidation, harassment and abuse of power and urged the executive committee to develop programmes that will benefit Lagos SWAN members.

 The former Chairman of Owan West Local Government in Edo State and erstwhile Chairman of the Edo State Football Association suggested the formation of a high-powered committee to engage prominent SWAN members and patrons, thus strengthening and revitalising the association.

Ubani, Sports Editor at Vanguard Newspaper and former Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Olympics Committee, condemned the involvement of the Lagos State Police Command, highlighting the abuse of power and intimidation targeting legitimate journalists. He expressed outrage, labelling the aggressive actions of armed policemen to stop the congress from holding as not only deplorable but also a grave insult to the esteemed journalism profession.

Adekunle Salami, Sports Editor, New Telegraph newspaper, affirmed his commitment, along with other editors, to restore the dignity of Lagos SWAN by actively opposing certain impostors collaborating with members of the Nigerian Police Force.

In efforts to foster a harmonious relationship between Lagos SWAN and the NPF, the former chairmen, in the company of Oshundun, Salami, Oluchi Tobe-Chukwu, Vice Chairman of Lagos SWAN and Super Falcons Media Officer; Christian Okpara, Sports Editor, Guardian newspaper and some other members paid a courtesy visit to the Area Commander in charge of Area C, ACP Oladunni Ayoola.

Some other members in attendance were Femi Solaja of ThisDay newspaper; Pius Ayinor, former Sports Editor of Punch Newspaper; Dapo Sotiminu, former Sports Editor of New Telegraph, McAnthony Anaelechukwu, publisher of Community Watch Plus, George Aluo, former editor of Champion newspaper and Chairman of the Nigeria National League (NNL); Sola Rogers, ED/CEO of Boom Radio; Jide Olaniran with TV360 and many more.

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