Mr. Hir Joseph, the Nassarawa State Correspondent of Daily Trust newspaper, was on May 29, 2015 assaulted by suspected political thugs during the inauguration of Governor Tanko Al-Makura in Lafia, the Nassarawa State capital.
Josephs was assaulted by thugs who wore white T-Shirts carrying the inscription: TA’AL, an acronym for Tanko Al-Makura, a popular campaign slogan of the governor.
Two thugs initially approached Joseph at an elevated platform where he was standing with other journalists who were there to cover the governor’s inauguration and asked him to follow them.
Joseph said: “They ordered me to follow them. I politely asked if there was any problem. There was no answer from any of them. Instead, they pounced on me, and lifted me unto their shoulders and made to take me away.”
The thugs whose numbers began to grow also dragged him metres away while assaulting him before officers and men of the police, and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), led by the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Umaru Ismaila stormed the scene and tried to release the reporter from their grip. Joseph then fell unconscious.
Other journalists who witnessed the altercation and tried to take photographs were reportedly accosted by Mr. Yakubu Lamai, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, who tried to block journalists from taking photographs of the assault and even attempted to snatch their cameras.
A journalist who witnessed the incident said that two of the thugs told him they were acting on orders from Government House claiming that Joseph did a report that exposed the governor.
Joseph was taken in an ambulance and rushed to a nearby hospital by a team of personnel of the Red Cross for treatment.