By Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti
Soldiers on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti pummelled the Ekiti State Correspondent of The Sun
Newspaper, Mr. Wole Balogun, inflicting serious head injuries on him.
The incident occurred at about 10.05 am around Okeyinmi Roundabout, opposite First Bank in Ado-Ekiti.
Balogun said he was trying to ask a motorist, who had blocked his way and caused a gridlock, to move back his vehicle when the soldiers pounced on him.
“This morning I was driving from my place on Ajibade lane to the Ekiti State University campus
for an event of the Niigerian Communications Commission I was invited to cover. As I approached the Okeyinmi Roundabout, directly opposite the First Bank office in the area, I noticed a small hold-up on the way to Adebayo, and then tried to negotiate the bend, so I could pass through the Okeyimin road as a link to Ifaki Road.
“Suddenly a motorist, obviously a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, who was driving down from the same road blocked my way. I hooted several times so that he could move back his car so the road could be free but he was adamant.
“Thinking he was not hearing the blaring of the horn, I came out of my car to meet him and told him to reverse the vehicle; that it was already causing a hold-up.
“It was at this point that two young soldiers appeared from my back and started beating me with their belts and boots. They whipped and kicked me several times and even hit me with their belts and ordered me to enter my car and drive to anywhere. All efforts to explain what really happened to them fell on deaf ears and even infuriated them the more as they continuously beat me on the head and all over the body.”
The reporter said the soldiers refused to listen to his explanations.
“I had to run back to my car, entered it and drove just to anywhere. In a couple of minutes, my head was covered with blood oozing out. I had to seek help at a nearby hospital. I must have lost a lot of blood from the cut on my head which was caused by the metal on the belt of the soldiers. Right now I’m feeling very weak and feverish,” he added.
The chairman, Ekiti State Correspondents’ Chapel, Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr. Rotimi Ojomoyela, condemned the attack on the reporter who was on his duty.
He said, “The Nigerian Union of Journalists frown on attacks against any journalist. There is no reason why any journalist should be attacked while on his lawful duties.
“The jackboot approach by men of the security agencies to settle civil dispute, especially their hostility towards men of the fourth estate of the realm, is becoming a daily affair. Men of goodwill across the country should come out and join their voices with that of NUJ to protect us from those who are persecuting us daily, especially at the slightest provocation.
“The NUJ will not take lying low issues of attack on any journalist any longer. Nobody, no matter how powerful his gun is, can beat us to submission. We will fight back with our pen.”