Africa Media Development Foundation condemns the attack and harassment of Friday Otabor, a reporter with Nigeria’s “The Nation Newspaper”.
Otabor was at the International Conference Centre, Akure, the capital of Ondo state Nigeria, venue of the APC guber primary election, when security operatives descended on him.
Reports say the journalist was harassed because he did not put on tags provided by the committee for acredited Journalists, and despite his efforts to explain his situation to the security operatives, they paid no attention to him.
Local reports further explained that Otabor had earlier shown his official identity card to the security personnel, but that did not deter them, as he “was beaten to pulp and efforts by officials of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to save him proved abortive”.
“After beating the Journalist, the policemen started speaking Hausa language and threw up the journalist who later landed on concrete floor. Otabor who sustained serious injuries was later rushed to the clinic where he was treated”.
In a Press Statement published by local media, signed by the state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Ondo state council, Adetona Aderoboye and the State Secretary, Leke Adegbite said, the act is “unacceptable and direct assault on Nigerian media who are in the forefront of returning the country to civilian rule, it is uncivilized of the security men, barbaric and fall short of democratic tenets”.
The council further stated that although the Commissioners for Information of Kogi and Ondo state as well as top security personnel at the venue had apologized to Otabor, Ondo NUJ charges Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello and the Inspector General of Police to call to order the security agents attached to the Kogi governor, and train them on how to be civil in dealing with journalists and members of the public”.
The council further demanded the “payment of medical bill of the attacked journalist by the Kogi governor and the Nigeria police, while investigation should be carried out to identify the defaulting policemen for necessary punishments”.
AMDF is calling on Nigerian authorities to ensure proper and professional behavior of security personnel in the discharge of their duties. We call on authorities to provide training for its personnel in order to avoid possible occurrence of similar incidence as some states in Nigeria are preparing towards gubernatorial elections later this year.