Journalist Brutalised, Arrested and Detained by Police for Taking Photos

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Mr. Achadu Idibia, journalist with Daily Times

Mr. Achadu Idibia, a journalist with the Daily Times newspaper was on June 11, 2024, brutalised, arrested and detained by men of the Kaduna State Command of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)  for taking their pictures while they were transporting a herd of cattle that they seized from a forest.

The incident reportedly took place near the Valid Oil filling Station, close to the busy Kachia Expressway at Angwan Boro, Kaduna, around 8:30 in the morning.

According to Mr. Idibia, the officers subjected him to torture and inhumane treatment, resulting in eye injuries. The police, however, denied these allegations.

Recounting his ordeal, he explained that he was apprehended by the police and taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) police station in Gabasawa, Kaduna.

Mr. Idibia detailed that he was brutalised, detained and his phone was confiscated and the images deleted before he was released later in the evening. He noted that due to the mistreatment he endured at the CID office, he was left with severe eye injuries, resulting in near blindness in one eye.

He narrated, “I am at the National Eye Centre now. I heard there was a commotion near my residence in Angwan Boro, Sabo Area, and went to investigate. I saw numerous policemen herding a large number of cattle from the refinery side towards Sabo. I approached a policeman for information, but he ignored me. I approached another, who also ignored me, so I took a photo of the cattle to verify the situation with the PRO, as they often deny such events. As soon as I took the photo, an officer seized my phone. I followed him, showed my ID card indicating that I am a journalist, but he confiscated the ID card as well.”

Mr. Idibia further explained that he was held in a police vehicle for hours with two other detainees, one arrested for a similar reason and the other for attempting to obstruct the police vehicle. He recounted, “An officer told me to stand up and write a statement. I struggled to see clearly, so they took me outside and forced me to write. They dictated what I should write, claiming I obstructed them. Under duress, I wrote the statement, which they then rewrote and had the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) sign. We were detained from noon until 6 PM before I was released on self-recognition.”

Reacting to the incident, the spokesperson for the Kaduna State Police Command, Mansir Hassan, confirmed Idibia’s arrest but denied any brutality. Hassan stated, “He was in my office, nobody brutalized him. He is our friend. Immediately after the incident, he came to my office. There was no sign of injury. We have CCTV cameras in our office, and it is not possible for our men to brutalise any journalist.”

The police spokesperson elaborated that Mr. Gabriel was arrested after the police emerged from the forest with the rescued cattle and noticed him recording them. They brought him to the office, realized he was a journalist and released him on self-recognition. He assured that the journalist would be taken to meet the State’s Commissioner of Police upon his return from a trip.