Nigeria Union of Journalists Osun State Council and a group, the Advocacy for Advancement of Peace & Harmony in Africa Initiative (ADAPHAI) have slammed the Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico, Adejare Bello, for publicly assaulting a journalist in the State, Adeniyi Akinromade.
Mr Adejare, a former speaker of the state assembly allegedly unleashed attack on the journalist working with Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC), while rendering a social service in a gridlock.
It was gathered that there was gridlock at the Oke-Fia axis of Osogbo, the state capital around 11:00 a.m on Friday and the journalist decided to pass vehicles causing gridlock to ensure easy accessibility on the routes.
Mr Bello on the other hand was on his way to somewhere along Oke Fia / Govt house axis when himself and the security personnel attached to him came down in his official vehicle to assault Mr Akinromade.
“I was on my way to Oke-Fia when I saw gridlock and people shunting. I took it upon myself to control some defiant motorists who were trying to manipulate their ways against traffic rule.
“While I was carrying out this, Mr Bello was passing through the road and he felt I was obstructing his movement. He alighted from his vehicle with annoyance in front of the Nigeria police Microfinance bank along the axis.
“Despite telling him that I am journalist and that I was only carrying out social service, he was slapping me alongside officers attached to him. I was brutalised and embarrassed publicly”, the assaulted journalist told Premium Times.
When Premium Times contacted Mr Bello, he did not deny assaulting Mr Akinromade. He told the correspondent of the paper that “I was the only one who slapped him. My police officers were not involved”.
“”Tell him (the journalist) to report to the police. He drove against traffic and I slapped him. I was the only one who slapped him and I am not denying that”, he said before dropping the call.
Condemning in strong term the open assault meted out to one of its members, the NUJ, in a statement by the Chairman of the council, Comrade Wasiu Ajadosu and the Secretary, Comrade Bukola Elufadejin said it is least expected a person of Adejare status to engage in such public assault on a journalist who was rendering social service in traffic.
The statement described Bello’s action as undignified and frowned that he descended so low to the point of slapping a citizen of Nigeria who he is assigned to protect his interest.
The council noted that it would no longer tolerate attempt by highly placed people to subject journalists to inhuman treatment. .
The union therefore demanded an apology from Bello and warned against reoccurrence of such act.
Also condemning the incident, ADAPHAI in a statement by its coordinator, Sulaimon Suberu, in Osogbo, said Mr Bello should be sanctioned.
“This act of hooliganism by Bello is condemnable and unacceptable, it is highly unbecoming of a man of his stature and status, although, he has history of violence and public disturbance even when he held sway as the speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, it is indeed disheartening that Bello has not changed for better despite his age and present exposure.
“Obviously, this type of character with violent mentality and temperamental nature cannot represent Nigeria anywhere, such personality will definitely disgrace Nigeria as an envoy in a foreign land.
“We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Bello without delay to avert future damage to Nigeria’s image and unimaginable diplomatic odium”, the statement read.
Bello, a two term speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly was recently appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico.
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