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Radio correspondent assaulted by security officials

(MRA/IFEX) - On 16 September 2009, Wale Oluokun, the Radio Nigeria correspondent for Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital in South-east Nigeria, was beaten and injured by four armed government security agents in the presence of the Imo State Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Henry Ekpe, and a couple of other journalists.

His offence was a report that aired on the Network Service of Radio Nigeria, a nation-wide service of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). The report dealt with visually impaired youth from Imo State who had marched to Government House to protest their continued neglect by the State government.

Oluokun said that he was arrested and taken to see the Chief Security Officer (CSO) of the Imo State Government House, C. Bako, who asked him to present his permit to cover government activities before removing his shoe to beat him. Thereafter, Bako's subordinates joined him in beating Oluokun.

Oluokun also stated that the incident happened within the premises of Government House in Owerri after Governor Ikedia Ohakim signed nine bills into law. He said his beating was witnessed by aides of the governor who supported the action of the CSO.

Oluokun had to be taken to hospital where he received treatment and was later discharged. This, he said, would be the second time the same Government House security personnel beat him because of his reports on Radio Nigeria.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities
- asking them to call the various security agencies to respect the human rights of journalists, including the right to freedom of expression of every Nigerian
- urging them to make the security agencies respect the rule of law as Nigeria is an emerging democracy, instead of resorting to the rule of might


APPEALS TO:

Prof. Dora Akunyili
Minister of Information and Communications
Federal Ministry of Information Radio House
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9234 6350, 234 9234 6351, 234 9523 7183, 234 9523 8232, 234 9234 4107
E-mail: [email protected]

Chief Michael Aondoakaa (SAN)
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice
Attorney General's Chambers
Federal Secretariat Complex
10th Floor, Shehu Shagari Way
P. M. B. 192, Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9523 5194
Fax: +234 9523 5208

Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo
Inspector General of Police
Force Headquarters
Loius Edet House
Shehu Shagari Way
Area 11 Garki,
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9234 0633 / 0422
Fax: +234 9234 0422
E-mail: [email protected]

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