The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) strongly condemns the detention and beating of a correspondent of Deutsche Welle in Nigeria and appeals to the authorities to sanction the police officers involved in the appalling treatment of the journalist.
The correspondent, Ibraheema Yakubu was arrested, beaten and detained by the police while reporting on a violent protest rally in Kaduna on June 23, 2017 for DW’s Hausa language service. The police officers also destroyed his equipment.
The annual protest by members of the Shia Muslim sect degenerated into violence as rival local residents tried to disrupt the procession. The police intervened by arresting a number of people including Yakubu, who was covering the scene.
Following the intervention of the executives of the local chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Yakubu was released after six hours in detention.
“I was beaten with a club; others kicked and slapped me, destroyed my laptop and recording gadgets contained in a bag,” Yakubu told fellow journalists after his release.
The Police in Kaduna have not commented on the incident, but have invited Yakubu to report for further interrogation on June 28, 2017, one of the conditions for his bail.
Meanwhile, DW has written a protest note to Nigeria’s Minister of Information denouncing the “unspeakable incident” and calling for remedies.
“An official statement and apology by police authorities is definitely called for. And we expect the cost to replace his destroyed professional equipment to be covered by Nigerian authorities,” DW wrote, adding “We expect the freedom of the press to be respected in your country.”
The MFWA equally condemns the arbitrary arrest and physical assault on the journalist. The action of the police officers involved betrays their blatant disrespect for the media and its role of informing the public about important national issues. We call on the police authorities to ensure not only that the perpetrators are punished but also that all charges against Yakubu are dropped and his damaged equipment replaced.