The International Press Centre, IPC, has condemned the attack on a Journalist with The Guild Press Limited, Mr Benjamin Anaja.
The Journalist was attacked on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, for allegedly recording and taking pictures during an enforcement operation by the officials of Lagos Environment Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) at Meiran Bus-Stop, Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
According to a statement by the Program Officer/ Safety Alert Officer of IPC, Ms Melody Lawal, on Thursday, February 4, 2021, a video recording by the victim reveals that despite showing his identity card during the act, over nine aggrieved enforcement officials reportedly went ahead to brutalise him and held him in their blackmaria for allegedly violating their law.
The Journalist said he was at the Bus-Stop capturing the dilapidated state of Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, from Abule-Egba to Sango tollgate, interviewing commuters and traders on how the bad road had continued to affect their businesses and other activities when the LAGESC officials stormed the axis to enforce the State’s sanitation law, a situation that caused pandemonium.
He noted that he witnessed some hoodlums who attempted to attack the officials and was capturing it when suddenly, the officials turned on him, kicking, and dragging him for recording the scene.
The report added that when he attempted to show his identity card, it was destroyed, and he was hauled into their ‘black maria’ vehicle.
IPC condemned the ‘unwarranted’ attack on the Journalist in the course of carrying out his legitimate duty; noting that it is particularly worrisome that he was so treated despite identifying himself as a Journalist.
The Centre thereby called on the State Commissioner for Environment to intervene and probe the incident so that the alleged culprits could be brought to justice.