The Police in Niger State, Nigeria have attacked a journalist and detained another after security forces spotted them reporting on their operation against demonstrators.
Emperor Simon and Abdul Egba, reporter and cameraman of the private-owned Channels Television, went to the Tafa Local Government Area on December 3, 2019 to follow up on the reported disappearance of the Returning Officer of the Local Council Election held in the area on November 30. However, they ran into a crowd of people protesting against the suspected abduction of the Election Officer and got into trouble when they attempted to report on the incident.
The protesters were blocking the Kaduna – Abuja Highway and police sprayed bullets into the air to disperse the crowd. The security officers also used tear gas canisters.
Simon said the police beat him and arrested his colleague when they tried to report on the violence.
“They [police] also beat me with a stick and gun butts and have taken the cameraman,” Simon narrated.
He added that Egba was taken away to the police command headquarters in Sabon Wuse and his camera seized.
In a statement signed by Alhaji Abdul Isah and Abu Nmodu, Chairman and Secretary of the Niger State chapter of the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ), the Union condemned the police action as an act of harassment and intimidation.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) condemns the assault on Simon and the arrest of Egba and calls on the police in Niger State to release Abdul Egba immediately and return his seized camera. We further urge the police in Niger State to investigate the incident and bring to book the officers involved in this flagrant violation of press freedom and human rights.