United States-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has decried the police assault of reporters during the End SARS memorial.
On October 20, Nigerians marked the one year anniversary of the military shooting at the Lekki toll gate in 2020.
A memorial was held in Lagos, Osun and other states, mostly in the South, during which DAILY POST’s Sikiru Obarayese, Adefemi Akinsanya of Arise News and Legit’s Abisola Alawode were assaulted.
The case of Obarayese was worse as he was repeatedly hit by policemen who threatened to kill him, forcefully wrote a statement on his behalf and hurriedly charged him within an hour.
He was arrested from Freedom Park in Oshogbo, venue of the rally, and taken to Dugbe Division on the order of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Chief Superintendent Oyegbade Akinloye.
At the station, one L. Yakubu punched Obarayese severally; one Inspector Charles wrote the statement. In the trumped-up charges, the police accused the pressman of breach of peace and recording/assaulting officers.
In court, Magistrate A. O. Daramola criticized the security agency over excessive force and asked the prosecutor, Inspector Adeoye Kayode, to point out where the law says security operatives should not be recorded.
Daramola, however, granted the request of the Osun Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode, for withdrawal of the suit and struck out the case.
In a statement on Monday, CPJ told Nigerian authorities to prioritize the safety of journalists covering protests and hold officers responsible for abuses accountable.
“Police attacks on journalists covering protests are unfortunately not novel in Nigeria and are among the dangers the press in the country face on a daily basis.
“Nigerian authorities should hold accountable the officers responsible for harassing and attacking the media to send a signal that such behavior will not be tolerated”, said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ sub-Saharan Africa representative.
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