Operatives of the Department of the State Services (DSS) and some policemen, yesterday, descended on a reporter with the Punch newspaper, Friday Olokor.
The journalist, who was to cover a panel of discussants at the ongoing African Council of Women Conference in Abuja, was brutalised and had his clothes torn by the security men on duty.
Narrating his ordeal, Olokor stated: “I drove to the venue, M & M Events Centre, Abuja, close to NICON Luxury in Central Business District. After introducing myself, the Mopol stopped me at the gate and said I should get an entrance tag. I told him I can only get the tag from the people who invited me. Still, he refused. I had to call Patience Ihejirika of Leadership Newspapers who came, gave me my tag.
“Yet, the police officer was complaining that we journalists are the problem of Nigeria. I turned and asked him why do security agencies hate journalists? He started abusing me and said if not that he was on the uniform, he would have taught me a big lesson.”
The reporter went on: “He said I wasn’t going in. It was during this time that the DSS operatives pounded me, tore my shirts. One of them tried on several occasions to clear me, but I was jumping. They were joined by police officers. They said I should sit down, I stood up. I was handcuffed. They seized the phone belonging to Patience Ihejirika, deleted the videos and photos of the incident, while one of the police officers threatened to beat her up.
“I called a senior officer in DSS, who happened to be my friend right from school. Even when he tried to speak with them, they refused. ‘Tell him we’re not talking with him. Olokor, I’m from Delta, when we get home, we discuss man to man’, one of them said. One wonders whether there’s no discipline in the DSS.”
He added: “An Assistant Director called to plead with a promise that they would be summoned to write a report of what happened. I’ve reported the matter to my bosses.”
In the meantime, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has charged media practitioners to use their profession to save Nigeria from impending catastrophe.
Delivering a keynote address at the 25th anniversary and public presentation of Comet Magazine by the Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikwe University (NAU), yesterday in Awka, the presidential spokesman acknowledged that the media had the capacity to promote peace and also cause civil unrest.
Represented by Prof. Nnaemeka Agbanu of Chukwuemeka Odomegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Adesina recalled that the Rwandan genocide, which over a million people, was triggered off by two local radio stations. He charged the practitioners to advance unity and the overall development of the country.