Bauchi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has suspended the ban it placed on coverage of police activities in the state by its members following compensation of Damina Yusuf, a journalist with the African Independent Television (AIT), who was assaulted and wounded by some police officers attached to the Rapid Response Squad while on official duty on July 29, 2021.
Damina was covering a protest by students of the College of Agriculture in Yelwa in Bauchi State when the police officers accosted and brutalized him and damaged his camera, laptop, and mobile phone.
As a result of the unprovoked assault the Bauchi State Council of NUJ ordered the boycott of all police activities by its members in the state.
On August 19, 2021, Mr. Sylvester Abiodun Alabi, the Bauchi State Police Commissioner, redeemed his pledge by presented new laptop computer, two smart phones and a camera which Damina lost during the assault on him.
While presenting the items, the Police Commissioner appealed to the union to lift the ban on the coverage of Police activities in the state so that their operations could be publicized. He reiterated the readiness of the police command to work harmoniously with journalists for the good of the people of the state.
In his response, the state Chairman of the NUJ, Umar Sa’id, praised the police commissioner for his concern over the plight of the assaulted reporter and for redeeming his pledge to offer compensations. Umar also assured Ajayi that the union would convene a meeting with the state executive council to review the embargo imposed on police activities in the state.
Following the compensation to Damina, members of the Bauchi NUJ State Working Committee met on August 20 and at the end of its meeting commended the State Commissioner of Police for showing concern to the plight of the assaulted AIT reporter and for fulfilling his promise to replace the lost items and to pick up the reporter’s hospital bill as well as his promise to work harmoniously with the media in the best interest of the people of the state.
The NUJ thereafter suspended the ban it placed on the coverage of police activities in the state by its members.
The Bauchi State NUJ secretary, Isah Garba Gadau, disclosed in a statement that members of the State Working Committee unanimously resolved that since the state Police Command has shown remorse, redeemed its pledges of settling the medical bills of the assaulted Journalist and replacing his missing tools, in addition to sanctioning the perpetrators. The statement advised media houses to resume publicizing Police activities in the state, adding the Union will continue to monitor the relationship between it and the Police.