Police personnel in Abuja, capital of Nigeria, on Tuesday, June 1, 2003, assaulted journalists Funmi Komolafe, Labour Editor of The Vanguard newspaper, Rotimi Ajayi, also a reporter with The Vanguard, and George Oshodi, photojournalist for the Associated Press (AP) news agency.
Funmi Komolafe and Ola Awoniyi, local correspondent for the Agence France-Presse (AFP) were earlier, on Monday, June 30, arrested and detained at the regional police headquarters before being released an hour later.
The police kicked, whipped and battered the journalists with the butts of their guns. They were also dazed with tear gas. Oshodi was severely injured in the eye and is currently on admission at a hospital in Abuja. His digital camera was smashed. Komolafe’s identification papers were also torn up.
The police brutalities come in the wake of the strike action called by leaders of the central labour federation, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in protest against recent petroleum price hikes announced by the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Reports say the police crackdown has also led to eight persons dead across the country.