Officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on September 18, 2023, attacked Mr. Mustapha Usman, a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), near the Corps’ Zone 7 office in Abuja. They beat him up and confiscated his identification card for capturing their activities on video.
The reporter saw the officers forcefully wrestling the steering wheel of a vehicle from a woman after they had stopped her and when they failed to take over the steering from her, they deflated her car tyres, prompting Mustapha to video the incident.
But when the officers discovered that Mustapha was capturing them, they ran after him, pounced on him, beat him up and collected his identity card.
Recounting his ordeal, Mustapha said he was passing by when he observed the officers surrounding the woman’s car. He said when he got closer, he noticed that the officers were trying to forcibly take control of the steering wheel of the car from the woman after which they deflated her tyres. He said: “I was watching closely, and I tried to record the event on video”.
He disclosed that when they tried to disperse the crowd that gathered and also attempted to pull him away, he resisted telling them he is a journalist and showed them his identity card, but they didn’t pay attention.
Mustapha said: “They started slapping me. About five of them surrounded and attacked me. I can’t even recall exactly how many of them beat me because it was close to their office, and there were many. I was retrieving my ID card from the floor when one hit me and took it away.”
The FRSC officers took Mustapha’s identity card to their office and held it for over two hours insisting that he delete the recordings on his phone and apologise for recording them while they were performing their duties.
Mustapha later sent a message to the Corps spokesperson Mr. Bizi Kazeem who directed him to the sector commander, who subsequently ordered the release of his identity card.
The sector commander, Mr. Muta Chorrie, in his reaction blamed the reporter for recording the officers “while doing their job”, describing what he did as disrespectful and malicious.