Unionists Enforcing Strike Action Attack Journalists in Ogun State

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Chris Isiguzo NUJ President

On June 28, 2022 some members of the organised labour who stormed Ijaye State Hospital in  Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, armed with canes, to enforce a strike order called by Labour in the state, harassed and beat up some journalists who were at the venue to cover the compliance level of the industrial action embarked upon by workers

The journalists attacked included Daud Olatunji of the Punch newspaper, Ms Joke Adeleye of PM/TheNews, Michael Olaoluwa and Ms Tutu Sobowale of PlatformTimes online newspaper and one Busola from an Abeokuta-based radio station. This was in spite of the fact that the journalists boldly displayed their identity cards which identify them as journalists.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress in the state had declared an indefinite strike on June 27 to press home their demands for payment of their contributory pensions and other allowances.

The union members accosted the journalists at the Hospital gate; they mobbed Olatunji and rained blows and slaps on him, insisting he should leave the premises, rebuffing his explanations that he is a journalist.

Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the union members, Olatunji said, “We were going round the state capital to get updates on the strike, which was declared on Monday.

“I was just shocked at the aggression of the people at the state hospital. Despite showing them my ID card, the union members harassed me. Before I knew what was going on, I started receiving blows and slaps. They were saying I was wicked and came for work when others stayed away.”

The two female journalists attacked, Ms Adeleye and Ms Sobowale, who arrived at the scene earlier, were not spared. They were both harassed for hours until the hospital management pleaded on their behalf.

Sobowale said, “I didn’t even enter the hospital. I was still on the other side of the road when four men came with canes and dragged me to the hospital premises.

“They were asking who gave me permission to take pictures. My phone was seized. I was detained and queried for hours.”