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Suspected political party supporters assault journalists during election

(MRA/IFEX) - On 24 July 2010 at about 12:15 p.m., thugs suspected of being loyal to the Action Congress (AC) political party assaulted three journalists in Edo state during the re-run election for a constituency in the state House of Assembly. The thugs, numbering over 30, were reportedly led by a leader of the AC, the ruling party in Edo state.

Friday Otabor, the Edo state correspondent for the Lagos-based private daily "The Nation", narrowly escaped death at the hands of the thugs while covering the election at Unit 9 of the ward located at the Igo Primary School. Gabriel Odia, the Edo state correspondent for Galaxy Television (also based in Lagos), fled the scene when the thugs attempted to seize and smash his camera. Edosa Okunbo, a reporter with the "Midwest Herald" newspaper, was also assaulted by the thugs while trying to rescue his colleagues.

Otabor was attempting to capture an argument between supporters of the AC and those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with his mobile phone camera when about 15 men pounced on him. They seized his cell phone, identity card and N13,000 (approx. US$87) cash and proceeded to beat him up.

Otabor's cell phone and ID card were later returned to him following the intervention of other journalists with the AC leader.

The attack on the journalists was reported to the Evboutubu Police Station headquarters, after which Otabor was taken to Lifeline Hospital for treatment.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities
- calling on the Nigerian police to investigate the assault and prosecute the perpetrators
- asking the Edo state government to provide compensation to Otabor for the assault


APPEALS TO:

Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo
Inspector General of Police
Force Headquarters
Loius Edet House
Shehu Shagari Way
Area 11 Garki,
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9 234 0633 / 0422
Fax: +234 9 234 0422
E-mail: [email protected]

Comrade Adams Oshiomhole
Executive Governor
Edo State
Dennis Osadebey Avenue
Gra Benin City
Edo State, Nigeria
Tel: +234 52 88 6004 / 5823 / 5824 / 6003
E-mail: [email protected]

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