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Stop assaulting journalists, Nigeria Police told

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On 12 August, Mustapha Yauri, a Zaria-district correspondent for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), was arrested and detained by personnel of the Nigeria Police while he was reporting a faceoff between trailer drivers and Kaduna State’s traffic law-enforcement agency, KASTELEA.   

According to Yauri, he had just concluded his interviews with eye witness on the scene and had proceeded to take pictures when a plain clothes officer attempted to seize his phone, which he rebuffed.

“The police officer, whom I later learned is the Divisional Crime Officer, then called some armed policemen and told them to take me to the police station to detain me and bring my phone back to him,” Yauri is quoted to have said. 

“I was detained at the police station for many hours before the DPO Mr. Ibrahim Abdullahi came into the office and called me for a meeting in his office where he apologised for what happened to me,” Yauri added, according to local reports of the incident.

Speaking with the Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), Yauri said it was the most embarrassing thing he had experienced while covering an assignment. He further stated that though the District Police Officer (DPO) apologised for the treatment meted to him, the officer who assaulted him insisted he did nothing wrong.

Chairman of the Nigeria union of Journalists (NUJ) Kaduna Council, Comrade Adamu Yusuf, according to a statement by AMDF’s Press Freedom desk and signed by Joy Gadani, lamented the improper conduct of some men of the Nigeria Police who still harass journalists on duty even with proper identification.

“Security operatives must learn to draw the line between performing their duties of securing lives and property and the abuse of power given to them by the constitution,” AMDF stressed in its statement, adding that it strongly condemns the harassment and consequent Yauri’s needless detention.

“We are calling on the Nigerian Police to give its men necessary enlightenment on the indispensable role of journalists in the society and ensure proper conduct of personnel,” the statement read. “Journalists in Nigeria must be allowed to perform their duties free from harassment as the fourth estate of the realm.” 

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