Sampson Unamka, a reporter with The Nation newspaper in Nigeria was on May 12, 2016 assaulted and arrested by Nigerian police officers.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent in Nigeria reported that Unamka was on his way from an assignment when he saw the officers beating up a commercial motor rider and a passenger.
Seeing police brutality of citizens, Unamka started filming the scene but was spotted by one of the officers who attempted to seize his phone. While Unamka was preventing the officer from seizing his phone, another officer charged at the journalist, slapped him and threatened to “show him.” The police officers then bundled Unamka into their vehicle and drove the journalist to their station in Mushin, a local government area in Lagos.
“I brought out my phone to take pictures of the scene and the next thing I was slapped severally,” Unamka said while narrating his ordeal to thenationonlineng.net. “They collected my phone and identity card and bundled me into the police van for trying to perform my duty as a reporter. They didn’t even let me explain myself.”
At the station, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) threatened to charge Unamka with “attempting to take pictures of officers”. He ordered Unamka to delete the video and write a statement. He later instructed the officers who arrested Unamka to release him.
Meanwhile MFWA’s national partner organisation in The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria has condemned the assault on Unamka described the attack and arrest of the journalist as unacceptable. “The duty of the police is to protect citizens and not batter them in the course of their legitimate duty,” the IPC said.
The MFWA equally condemns the attack and arrest of Unamka who was merely doing his duty as a journalist and also a citizen by filming unwarranted police brutality on citizens. The police, as part of their mandate are to respect and uphold the fundamental rights of citizens and ensure the respect of rule of law hence cannot be seen to taking the law into their own hands. The MFWA calls on the Inspector General of Police to conduct an investigation into the matter and sanction the police officers involved.