Photojournalist Assaulted, Arrested while Covering Protest by Aviation Unions in Lagos

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Mr. Benedict Uwalaka,
Photojournalist with Daily Trust Newspaper,

Mr. Benedict Uwalaka, a photojournalist with Daily Trust newspaper, was on April 17, 2023, assaulted, arrested and detained for covering a protest by members of aviation unions at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) domestic terminal in Lagos. He was injured and his camera screen broken preventing its lens from reattaching. He was detained at the Airport Police Division for about two hours.

Benedict, who was injured in the arm, was taken to the MMA Domestic Airport Division of the Police where he was detained.

He said while he was covering the protest by aviation workers at the airport, an officer sitting in a police vehicle with two other officers summoned and criticized him for taking a woman’s photo without her permission. He said the police officer asked him to delete the picture, which he declined to do. Angered, the officer grabbed his camera and punched his hand several times.

The officer who assaulted him took the photojournalist to the airport’s police station and left, saying he would return.

Benedict said he waited at the station for more than two hours hoping to speak to a supervisor but left when they did not report at the station. Officers at the airport police station told him that they did not know the officer who had brought him in and that unless the officer was available, there was nothing they can do about the matter. They claimed they do not know the policeman and there is no way they could trace him. Coupled with his inability to speak with a superior officer, he left the station.