Police Assault Journalist

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Two policemen attached to the Sabo Police Division in Lagos assaulted Mr. Samson Folarin, on May 14, 2013. Mr. Folarin, a correspondent with The Punch newspaper was taking photographs of one of the policemen in a brawl with a commercial tricycle operator when he (Folarin) was suddenly slapped and dragged on the road.

Mr. Sadiq Kazeem, one of the policemen, was engaged in a brawl with Mr. Musibau Bakare a tricycle operator, at the Sabo bus stop.  Mr. Folarin who happened to be at the scene, acting on his journalistic instinct, decided to observe and capture the situation.

While taking the photographs, the policeman held Mr. Folarin by his trousers and dragged him to his colleague in mufti. The two policemen then shoved the journalist towards their station.

When Mr. Folarin tried to make phone calls to his office to inform his editor about what was happening, the policemen were further infuriated and started slapping him again while still shoving him to the station.

At the Police Station, the officers on duty asked Folarin why he was arrested. Mr. Folarin replied by asking, “What have I done wrong to deserve this treatment? What law in particular have I breached?”

An officer responded: “Don’t you know you were supposed to take permission from the police officer? Haven’t you read the FOI [Freedom of Information] bill enough to know you cannot just take any picture? Can you snap the picture of a naked woman on the road?”

The policemen confiscated Mr. Folarin’s phone and forced him to delete the photographs he had taken at the scene of the brawl.

The Divisional Police Officer, Mr. A. O. Aruna, to whom the matter was reported, however admonished Kazeem about his conduct while on duty