Some officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Wednesday assaulted three photojournalists in the course of their duties in Abuja.
The assaulted journalists are Olu Aremo of Leadership Newspapers, Olatunji Obasa of Punch Newspapers and Mudashiru Atanda of The Sun Newspapers.
Mr Obasa’s camera was destroyed in the scuffle which occurred at the headquarters of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in Abuja.
Mr Aremo said he and his colleagues visited the NIMC office to cover the ongoing registration of Nigerians and saw an uncontrollable crowd, which led to the closure of the commission’s gate with both staff and those seeking for the registration locked outside.
“Minutes after 12pm, we were taking some pictures only to be manhandled by the security officers of the NSCDC stationed in the NIMC office,” he said.
“I was standing by when suddenly I saw a security personnel attacking Tunji Obasa, the Punch photographer, dragging his camera. We rushed there to inquire what happened but instead, the security personnel started dragging the camera of the Sun newspaper photographer, Mudashiru Atanda.
“As they were struggling, the DSS operatives joined the melee that ensued and grabbed my own camera too and took it to the Public Relations Officer of NIMC and deleted all the pictures after damaging the Punch camera worth over N750,000.”
Condemning the attack on its members, the PhotoJournalists Association of Nigeria (PJAN), Abuja chapter described the assault as unfortunate.
“We’ve gone to the NIMC headquarters and interfaced with the head and officials of the corporate affairs department with a commitment from them of replacing the damaged camera of the affected journalist,” PJAN secretary Jide Oyekunle said.
The leadership of the NSCDC FCT Command has vowed to sanction the officers involved in the incident.
“I want to assure the public as well as the journalists involved that if found wanting, the affected officers would not go unpunished. In fact, appropriate sanctions would be meted out to them to serve as a deterrent to others,” NSCDC spokesman David Akinbinu said.