The Bauchi State Council of the Nigeria union of Journalists (NUJ) has directed all its members to suspend the coverage of police activities in the state with immediate effect over alleged manhandling of an AIT reporter, Damina Yusuf.
The order was contained in a press statement issued to its members in the state on Friday, jointly signed by the chairman of council, Comrade Umar Sa’idu and the secretary, Comrade Isah Garba Gadau.
The statement noted with dismay, the uncivilised manner of the Nigeria Police in adopting brutality as part of its tradition especially against journalists.
“The union condemn in strong terms the negative action of the Rapid Response Squad of the State Police command that molested and injured one of its members, Damina Yusuf of the AIT on Thursday 30th July, 2021,” NUJ said.
The statement explained that the victim of the police brutality was covering students’ protest at the Bauchi College of Agriculture when he was attacked by the police in Yelwa.
It said that the injured AIT reporter was later admitted at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital in Bauchi for treatment.
The NUJ said the coverage of all activities of the police in the state will remain suspended until the perpetrators of the act are fished out and prosecuted in addition to the proper payment of compensation and settlement of medical bills of the victim.
The NUJ noted with dissatisfaction the way and manner in which personnel of the Nigeria Police from Bauchi State Command that always claim to be partners to the journalists in progress, brutalised, molested and harassed the AIT reporter.
According to the press statement, the perpetrators also seized Damina’s camera, laptop computer, microphone with AIT logo, mobile phones, modem and wallet containing substantial amount of money among other belongings.
While commending the management of the College of Agriculture Bauchi for its humanitarian gesture by taking the AIT reporter to hospital for medical attention, the NUJ called on the Bauchi State government to consider the establishment of a standing panel of inquiry to hear cases of security brutality against citizens in the state.
The NUJ recalled that the latest incident is the fifth time in the last one year that journalists were brutalised by policemen while carrying out their legitimate duties in the state.