Suspected Smugglers Beat Journalist to Coma

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On June 25, 2015, some men, suspected to be smugglers beat Yomi Olomofe, the Executive Director of the Badagry based Prime Magazine to a state of coma. They accused him of reporting their activities at the Seme-Badagry border.

Olomofe was reportedly battered by the suspected smugglers on the premises of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) office in Seme, Badagry, Lagos State and while they were beating him, men of the NCS, Seme Area Command who witnessed the assault, looked away.

Narrating his ordeal, Olomofe said: he was in the company of a colleague when some smugglers, who claimed that journalists have been writing negative stories about them, pounced on him.

He said they beat him and threatened to kill him to serve as deterrent to journalists writing stories about their activities. They threatened: “We will kill you today. When we kill you, other journalists will leave this place alone.”

After battering him for about 10 minutes, they took Olomofe to a nearby refuse dump, pummeled him some more and left him for dead.

He said it was the timely intervention of a friend who came to take him away for treatment after the smugglers left him for dead, which saved his life.

He added that: “These hoodlums are not unknown. They are known to everybody, but they are above the law. They even told me that they have killed many people and nothing happened”

Olomofe has called on the Inspector General of police to come to his rescue saying his life is no longer safe.

The Chairman of Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Deji Elumoye disclosed that the Union had briefed its lawyers and was set to file a wide range of law suits against the Nigeria Customs Service over the incident. He said the leadership of the NUJ has instructed its lawyers to sue the NCS for accessory, aiding and abetting, manslaughter, harassment and assault, among others to seek justice on the matter.

He said: “Customs and its officers are to be held responsible for this, because the incident happened within their territory. They had a duty to protect their visitors but they reneged on their duty.”