The harassment and assault on journalists by law enforcement officers one again came to the fore as officers of Nigerian Prison Service from Kuje Prison, Abuja, numbering about 10, openly brutalized a Vanguard reporter, Mr. Emmanuel Elebeke.
The incident occurred at about 2p.m. at the premises of Court 2 of the FCT High Court, Maitama, Abuja, when the reporter took the photograph of the six accused persons from Kuje prison, who were standing trial for a murder case.
The officials demanded for his camera and, together with family members of the accused, descended on him.
The picture was taken outside the courtroom.
The incident drew the attention of court officials, who came to the journalist’s rescue, but were overwhelmed. While one prison official was hitting the reporter his gun butt, the others kicked with their boots.
Meanwhile, one of the officials, Rita, ordered that one of the handcuffs be removed from the accused persons and used on the reporter.
The beating stopped when they got hold of the camera and made away with it in an official bus with number plates PS635A01.
When the report of the attack got to the judge, he was quoted as wondering why prison officials should take laws into their hands.
In a swift reaction, the Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr. Paul Ella, condemned the attack and insisted that the prison officers must be brought to justice.
He said: “It is totally unacceptable to us as a union and the profession of journalism. Such an act cannot be tolerated in a society where we all call for social justice.
“We, as a union, will investigate the case in full and make sure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. We will do everything within our power to ensure that this does not repeat itself.”