Nigerian authorities must investigate the assault on Sikiru Obarayese and ensure that he receives justice.
Obarayese, a reporter with Daily Post news was reportedly harassed by men of the Nigerian police while he was covering the enforcement of the use of face mask as part of safety guidelines to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 in Osun State-South West Nigeria.
The incident which occurred at Old Garage area of Osogbo – Osun state, left the journalist with several bodily injury, says report.
Obarayese revealed that he was taking pictures of harassment on defaulters by members of the Joint Tax Force (JTF) when a police man approached him and ordered him to stop, in the process personnel of the JTF led by state’s commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Adebayo Adeleke approached him and demanded why he was taking pictures. As the journalist was trying to show his identity card, the security personnel attacked him using their batons with the aim of destroying his phone.
“To my surprise, I heard the commissioner for local government and chieftaincy ordering them to beat me and take me along with those they had arrested” said Obarayese.
Africa Media Development Foundation reached out to the journalist who confirmed the incident, “the PPRO claimed she doesn’t know anything about it, though she didn’t make any promise concerning the matter” said Obarayese.
The journalist also told AMDF that the state’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS) Ismail Omipidan called a day after the incident and apologized, however, the journalist said the commissioner has continued to deny knowledge of the incident.
AMDF demands that the Nigerian police investigates the incident and ensure proper compensation to the journalist for the harassment and bodily harm.
AMDF also expresses concern over the increasing incidences of press freedom violations in Nigeria, and the level of impunity on attacks against journalists by some persons in authority. Authorities at all levels must ensure the safety of journalists and media organizations in the country.