From Ogundele Olanrewaju
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council on Wednesday demanded for justice from the State Police Command over the assault meted to a Reporter of the The Nation Newspaper, Yinka Adeniran at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial primary in Ibadan.
The NUJ in a statement signed by its Chairman, Ademola Babalola regretted that the officer of the Command who went overboard and attacked the harmless reporter did not show any remorse when the NUJ leadership demanded for why the reporter was assaulted.
Babalola said such an uncivilised and vicious attack on Adeniran was condemnable and therefore demanded that justice be done, because the image of the said officer had trended on social media platforms and the police should therefore ensure the officer is brought to book.
Adeniran is a reporter attached to the Oyo state Governor’s Office.
Adeniran had fingered the said officer who was armed with AK47 when NUJ Leader sought to know what went wrong and why he assaulted, beaten and tore the shirt of the reporter.
The reporter was also teargassed directly in his eyes, nose and mouth by the officers with name tag I.O Niyi.
The incident took place at the primary election of the PDP between the State Governor Seyi Makinde and Mogaji Hazeem Gbolarumi. It was held at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex (Tennis Courts Pavillion).
Trouble started after the reporter in company of other colleagues were returning to the venue after they had gone to monitor situation from the main venue.
On approaching the entrance gate, the reporters were again asked to identify themselves to which they complied.
The reporters were asked to stay by the side on the allegation that there were too many journalists covering the event.
After staying aside, the security operatives were however overpowered by many of the delegates at the entrance due to their delay.
Noticing that The Nation reporter had gained entrance, the visibly enraged officer pounced on Adeniran, ordering other officers to ‘throw’ him out.
After about five officers, armed with riffles attacked the reporter who was only armed with a jotter and phone, they succeeded in man-handling and tearing his shirt.
Not done, the officer, Niyi went back to collect tear gas can from one of his colleagues and sprayed it directly into the eyes, nose and mouth of The Nation reporter after he had been thrown out of the venue.
The quick intervention of other colleagues including the NUJ Chairman; chairman of the State Correspondents’ Chapel, Oluseye Ojo, leadership and members of the Press Crew saved the situation from becoming a full blown crisis.
In the same vein, the cameraman of the Independent African Television (IATV), Wale Fatumbi was also harrassed by thugs allegedly loyal to the camp of the Governor.
He was accused of recording Hazeem Gbolarumi while he was speaking.
With the development, the journalists at the event threatened a boycott but were impressed upon by some government functionaries.
While many delegates and observers had a hectic day passing through the security gates, members suspected political thugs had a field day going in and out of venue undisturbed.
However, calm was restored on the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operation), Executive Assistance to Governor Makinde on Security, CP Sunday Odukoya (Rtd), the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Taiwo Adisa and Ex-Senior Special Assistant to Governor Makinde on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Kunle Yussuf.