[Nigeria Report] Photo-journalists attacked repeatedly in Lagos

A battered Photo-Journalist in Lagos, Nigeria

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State Monday (Aug. 20) assured the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) that justice would be done over the recent assault on two photo-journalists in the state the Nigerian Guardian reported.

The Guardian reported that he gave the assurance at Alausa, Ikeja, while addressing the protesting members of the state NUJ.

The governor, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Information, Lateef Raji, said those who brutalized the photo-journalist of Leadership Newspaper, Benedict Uwalaka, have been arrested and would soon be prosecuted.

He also decried how the Photo Editor of The Nation Newspaper, Tunde Ogundeji, was harassed and brutalised on Monday when he attempted to snap a photograph of a train in Ikeja.

Earlier, journalists in the state, led by their chairman, Deji Elumoye, had staged a peaceful protest to the Governor’s Office against what they termed the continued brutalization and harassment of its members in the course of their duties.

The journalists had as early as 8 am, thronged the Ladi Lawal Press Centre, Alausa, Lagos, where the protest march began at about 10 a.m.

The protesters later moved from the Ladi Lawal Press Centre through Awolowo Road, making a brief stopover at the state House of Assembly before storming the State House, Ikeja.

The protesting journalists, consisting mostly photojournalists, carried placards and big banners, some of which bore photographs of Uwalaka and Ogundeji. Some of the placards read: “Journalists are friends not foes,” “We will no longer tolerate these assaults,” “We demand our rights,” “Stop the assaults,” “We will resist the brutalities,” among others.

The NUJ’s boss faulted the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Abubakar Manko, for his inability to handle the matter diligently. The council boss also noted that the union was ready to institute both criminal charges and civil suits against the suspects.

On Thursday last week, a photojournalist, Benedict Uwalaka, was beaten and brutalized by mortuary attendants at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), for no just cause. The victim is currently on admission in the intensive unit of the hospital where he was hurriedly rushed to by colleagues when they noticed that he had been bleeding profusely.

Uwalaka who is attached to LEADERSHIP, was at the hospital to cover the release of corpses of victims of the recent ill-fated Dana Air crash by the management of the hospital, when some mortuary attendants pounced on him.

According to eyewitnesses, the assailants numbering about four descended on him and began to beat him mercilessly hitting him with their fists, sticks, bottles and other dangerous weapons, resulting serious bodily injuries especially to his face.

A colleague, Mr. Kola Olasupo collaborated: “I was walking in front of Uwalaka, both of us were moving towards the Pathology side of the mortuary, suddenly, I heard a loud sound twice and quickly turned only to see two men using sticks to hit my friend, Uwalaka. As I tried to ask them what the trouble was, two other men rushed out from the door and slapped him and hit his eyes. I quickly called on my other colleagues to assist when another one came out again with electric prodding device.”

Apart from the major bodily harm done to him, Benedict’s phone and a PENTAX 30mm zoom lens camera were taken away from him.

Uwalaka Temple U.B Intern Reporter news@theasian.asia

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