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Nigerian reporter slapped, detained for photographing policeman

On 14 May 2013, two policemen attached to the Sabo Police Division in Lagos assaulted Mr. Samson Folarin, a correspondent with The Punch newspaper, while he was taking photographs of one of the policemen in a brawl with a commercial tricycle operator.

Folarin was slapped, dragged on the road and forced to delete photographs of the brawl he had recorded on his camera.

One of the policemen, Sadiq Kazeem, was engaged in a brawl with a tricycle operator called Musibau Bakare, at the Sabo bus stop when Folarin – who happened to be on the scene – acting on his journalistic instinct, decided to observe and capture the situation.

When he started taking photographs, Kazeem swooped on him, grabbed him by his trousers and dragged him to his colleague who was in mufti. Together, the policemen dragged the journalist towards their station.

When Folarin tried to make calls to his office to inform his editor about his predicament, the policemen were infuriated and began to slap him while still dragging him to the station.

At the police station, the officers on duty derided Folarin when he asked why he was arrested.

Folarin reportedly asked them: "What have I done wrong to deserve this treatment? What law in particular have I breached?"

An officer responded: "Don't you know you were supposed to [ask] permission from the police officer? Haven't you read the FOI [Freedom of Information] bill enough to know you cannot just take any picture? Can you snap [a] picture of a naked woman on the road?"

The policemen confiscated Folarin's phone and forced him to delete the photographs he had taken of the scene of the brawl.

The divisional police officer, Mr. A.O Aruna – to whom the matter was reported – admonished Kazeem about his conduct while on duty.

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