On February 16, 2021, operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) beat up a correspondent of The Nation newspaper, Mr. Toba Adedeji, while he was covering a protest by students under the aegis of the National Association of Osun State Students (NAOSS) and Association of Nigeria Students/Joint Campus Committee (Osun axis) at the NSCDC office in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
Some of his colleagues who tried to rescue him were also threatened by the NSCDC operatives.
The incident occurred when an overzealous NSCDC personnel accosted Toba at the scene and started querying him, in spite of the reporter identifying himself as a correspondent of The Nation newspaper. This did not deter the NSCDC personnel, who was joined by his colleagues in beating and harassing the journalist, claiming he was rude to a senior officer.
Narrating his ordeal, Toba said he was standing under the shade at the entrance of the NSCDC command working on his phone while the protest by the students was going on when the officers accused him of spying for the police.
According to him, he told them he was not a spy but a journalist, but one of the officers directed that his phone should be confiscated. He was about to show them his identity card which was in his chest pocket when one of them gave him a headbutt while he also struggled to collect the journalist’s phone from him. Other officers joined in beating him.
His wristwatch was damaged as a result of the beating inflicted on him. He was later rescued by his colleagues whom the NSCDC operatives also threatened to shoot.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Osun State Council, condemned the incident in a statement by Wasiu Ajadosu and Bukola Elufadejin, Chairman and Secretary respectively of the union, describing the attack as barbaric and uncivilised, adding that as men in uniform, they are expected to be above board in their professional conduct.
The union warned that it will no longer condone such attacks on its members, especially during this political season and cautioned security agents not to allow themselves to be used for political games in the state.
While demanding a public apology from the Osun NSCDC Command, it added that the union will be left with no other option other than to stop the coverage of all activities of the command if it fails to apologise.
Speaking on the incident, the Osun NSCDC Command Public Relations Officer, Ms Atanda Olabisi disclosed on phone that the attack was a misunderstanding between the personnel of the NSCDC and the journalist.
And noted that the attack should not have come up in the first instance, Atanda revealed that the men responsible for the attack had been called to order and cautioned.
She also disclosed that the command had already apologised to the Osun NUJ council and Mr. Toba Adedeji since he is a known journalist in the command.
She stated that the Osun NSCDC Commandant, Emmanuel Ocheja was on top of the matter and will issue a public statement in respect to the issue.