Nigeria: Immigration officers assault journalist

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) strongly condemns the awful assault on Seun Falomo, a news correspondent for Galaxy Television, and calls for appropriate disciplinary measures to be taken against the offenders.

Some immigration officers in Ibadan assaulted Falomo on March 29, 2024 when the journalist was covering their manhandling of an official of the Oyo State Road Transport Management Agency (OYRTMA).

The road safety officer had arrested an immigration officer for a traffic offense, and in retaliation, some immigration personnel arrested the OYRTMA official and assaulted him, stripping him to his bare skin in the process.

In apparent panic over a possible backlash if the incident is reported in the media, the rampaging immigration officers directed their aggression at the media.  One of them charged at Falomo and tried to seize his camera, but the journalist resisted. In course of the confrontation, the immigration officer pushed Falomo to the ground, while his colleague pointed a gun at the reporter. Fortunately, other journalists and bystanders interposed themselves between the gun-wielding officer and Falomo, and finally rescued the latter.

The appalling incident has ignited outrage among media professionals and advocates, who called for an immediate investigation into the actions of the immigration officers involved.

Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo state council, Comrade Ademola Babalola, described the incident as deeply troubling, and called for the officers involved to be called to order.

In response to the outcry, Mrs. Kemi Nandap, the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service, has ordered a thorough investigation into the matter. She emphasised the commitment of the service to sanction any officers found to have flouted the law.

The MFWA welcomes the reactions of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service to investigate the matter, and demands that the perpetrators account for their crime.

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