Toba Adedeji, a journalist, has recounted his ordeal at the hands of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) personnel in Osun State.
He told reporters on Wednesday that he had been covering a protest by students from the National Association of Osun State Students (NAOSS) and the Association of Nigeria Students/Joint Campus Committee (Osun axis) on Tuesday at the NSCDC Command Headquarters in Oke-Ayepe, Osogbo, the state capital, when he was attacked by some officers.
Adedeji of The Nation Newspaper said despite showing them his identity card, they insisted he was a spy for the police and manhandled him. He further claimed that he was headbutted by one of the officers, leaving him with a bloodied mouth.
“I struggled to call my colleagues at the scene but one officer exclaimed ‘I will shoot you if you move closer’. Eventually, an older officer at the scene talked to them and they freed me. I showed them my identity card but the officers who battered me, scorned it, saying, ‘Can you try this with operatives of DSS, even soldiers? The Command should have let us sign for guns and kill and arrest these protesters. In Ondo Command, they would have signed guns for us to deal with these miscreants who want to pull us into politics.’
“Another officer screamed and said: ‘You came here claiming you are a journalist. If you have been shot two times, you will go explain your profession to God.
“After the attack, I noticed that my smart wristwatch was missing and the buttons on my clothing were damaged,” he said.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council, has condemned the incident. A statement by Wasiu Ajadosu and Bukola Elufadejin, Chairman and Secretary of the union respectively, described the attack as barbaric and uncivilised, adding that as men in uniform, they are expected to be above board in their professional conduct.
The union warned that it will no longer condone such attacks on its members especially during this political season and cautioned security agents not to allow themselves to be used for political games in the state.
While demanding a public apology from the Osun NSCDC Command, it added that the union will be left with no other option other than to stop the coverage of all activities of the command if it fails to apologise.
The Osun NSCDC Command Public Relations Officer, Atanda Olabisi while speaking with newsmen on phone, said the attack was a misunderstanding between the personnel of the NSCDC and the journalist.
While noting that the attack should not have come up in the first instance, Atanda revealed that the men responsible for the attack had been called to order and cautioned.
She also disclosed that the command had already apologised to the Osun NUJ council and to Toba Adedeji since he is a known journalist in the command.
She stated that the Osun NSCDC Commandant, Emmanuel Ocheja was on top of the matter and a public statement will be issued soon.
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