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AIT Reporter Beaten Black And Blue At Obasanjo Son’s Wedding

November 13, 2013

Last Saturday will certainly remain one of the most memorable moments in the life of Mrs. Chigozie Obasanjo, the newly wedded wife of Bisoye Obasanjo, one of the sons of former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
The only black mark to the day’s event occurred when an SSS operative, identified as Mr. Emeka attached to Ebonyi State government House, Abakaliki, attacked and pummelled an Africa Independent Television, AIT, cameraman in the State, Mr. Chineye Sunday, who was then trying to get shots of dignitaries during the event. To the shock of all present, including the dignitaries, the SSS operative allegedly shoved and repeatedly punched the hapless fellow on the face. The development almost ruined the joy of the occasion, but thanks to the comportment and maturity exhibited by the AIT cameraman, this did not happen.
It was gathered that Mr. Sunday left the scene of the event with bruises, swollen face and a damaged camera worth over a N1 million. Narrating his ordeal, Mr. Sunday noted: “The incident took place during Chief Obasanjo’ son’s traditional marriage yesterday (Saturday). Immediately I entered where dignitaries were and established my shots, the guy (SSS operative) who was at my back pushed me and sent me staggering with my equipment. I asked him why he did what he did. His response was to punch me in the face, injuring my eyes.
“My camera worth over N1 million was damaged and I cannot use it again to cover any function for government or anybody else until it is repaired or a new one purchased for me”.
Reacting to the development, a cross section of journalists in the state expressed disappointment over the incident and called on both the state government and Human Rights Commission, HRC, to wade into the matter, threatening that if this is not done they would never cover any event involving the Governor since their safety cannot be guaranteed. “We are shocked, embarrassed and humiliated by this development. These SSS guys are fond of obstructing us from doing our job both in the Government House and at the Stadium; and the most annoying aspect of it is that they know us very well. We are all in the Government House.
Harmless persons
We are not strangers to them. We wonder who gave them the audacity to always attack us. It is only in Ebonyi State we feel threatened to do our job. These guys need training and retraining; they shouldn’t vent their anger on us if their condition of service is not acceptable to them. They should allow us to do our job while they do theirs. Journalists the world over are harmless persons”. Meanwhile, the ADC to the Ebonyi State Governor, Mohammed Tijan, Chief Security Officer, CSO, and Chief Detail appealed to journalists in the state to be calm over the incident, promising to sanction the affected SSS operative.
Also, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ebonyi State chapter, has strongly condemned the alleged beating of Mr. Sunday allegedly by the SSS operative.
In a chat with VM, the State Chairman of NUJ, Mrs. Veronica Osim who condemned the action of the SSS operative explained that Journalists should not be seen as a threat to peace in the State but rather partners in the development agenda of the nation. She called on the SSS operatives and all the other security agencies in the state to always allow Journalists do their job effectively and shun acts capable of causing Journalists to be at loggerheads with any agencies in the state.
“Journalists are not a threat to peace because we all are doing the same work of ensuring peace in the state and the country at large. I want to appeal to all those involved that such act should not be allowed to happen again. We have reported the matter to the necessary authorities, including the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor and we are hopeful that the issue will be resolved amicably. “We condemned it entirely. People should not go physical with us because we are not at war with anybody”.
VM learnt that the cameraman is still receiving medical treatment as a result of the injuries he sustained from the attack.
However, effort made by journalists in the State to get the attention of the SSS operative proved abortive as he did not want to discuss the matter.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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