PJAN decries incessant police brutality on members
The Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, has apologised for the attack on Kayode Jaiyeola, a journalist with The PUNCH newspaper.
The journalist was physically assaulted by a policeman while covering a protest yesterday by members of the #RevolutionNow Movement in the Maryland area of the city around 11:10a.m., which left him bleeding profusely.
The police boss has also ordered immediate detention and orderly room trial of Inspector Adadu Innocent, attached to PMF 22 Ikeja, for hitting and injuring Jaiyeola with a stick.
Odumosu, who was monitoring the deployment and operational activities of officers for the enforcement of the order against unlawful gathering and protest by some individuals, raced to the scene and personally moved the injured journalist to the Police Cottage (Hospital) at Area F, GRA, Ikeja, where he ensured the journalist was given immediate medical treatment.
The preliminary findings carried out by the commissioner of police and eyewitness accounts revealed that the cop suddenly attacked the journalist, without any previous altercation or confrontation. This propelled the commissioner to order for his trial to serve as a deterrent to others who are fond of engaging in unprofessional and unethical conducts.
MEANWHILE, the Photojournalists Association of Nigeria (PJAN) has condemned the inhuman treatment meted out on its member, Jaiyeola, during the protest. The Chairman of PJAN, Mr. Abiodun Ajala, said it had become one incident too many on the part of the police to attack journalists.
“The role of the media is to gather and report events in public space. Why must an identified journalist be treated in such an animalistic manner when not a criminal. Even a criminal is given fair hearing until proven guilty in the court of law.
“On September 16, 2020, President Buhari signed into law a new Police Act 2020 to replace the old Police Act 2004, which its key amendment is to, among other things, enhance professionalism in the police.
Section 37 of the Act 2020 states: ‘A suspect shall be accorded humane treatment and shall not be subjected to torture, cruelty, inhumane or degrading treatment.’
“We shall continue to be law-abiding citizens as long as the respect is mutual. Our members are ready to down tool as a form of protest next time such happens,” he said, while urging the institution to embrace the new Act and weed out bad eggs in the police.
While condemning the attack on the journalist, Odumosu had said: “The one that was beaten was out of professional misconduct of that officer. Even if he is a protester, he has his rights, not to talk of a journalist doing his lawful duty. He is a Nigerian and has the right to do that and even if he has done anything against the law, is that the procedure of the police? Is that the professional way of arresting somebody and making them face the law? No. So, once again I sincerely apologise for that.”