The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, condemns the attack on Benjamin Anaja, a journalist with The Guild Press Limited, on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, for allegedly recording and taking pictures during an enforcement operation by the officials of Lagos Environment Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) at Meiran bus stop along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
According to Melody Lawal, the Program Officer/ Safety Alert Officer, IPC, in a press release disclosed that a video recording by the victim reveals that despite showing his identity card during the act, over nine aggrieved enforcement officials reportedly went ahead to brutalize him and held him in their blackmaria for allegedly violating their law.
According to Anaja, he was at the bus stop capturing the dilapidated state of Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, from Abule-Egba to Sango tollgate, interviewing commuters and traders on how the bad road had continued to affect their businesses and other activities when the LAGESC officials stormed the axis to enforce the state’s sanitation law, a situation that caused pandemonium.
He noted that he witnessed some hoodlums who attempted to attack the officials and was capturing it when suddenly, the officials turned on him, kicking, and dragging him for recording the scene. When he attempted to show his identity card, it was destroyed, and he was hauled into their ‘black maria’ vehicle.
IPC condemns the unwarranted attack on the journalist in the course of carrying out his legitimate duty. It is particularly worrisome that he was so treated despite identifying himself as a journalist.
IPC hereby calls on the Commissioner for Environment to intervene and probe the incident so that the alleged culprits could be brought to justice.