by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Nigeria Police must be advised to ensure proper conduct of its personnel and to desist from unlawful harassment of journalists in the discharge of their duties, the Africa Media Development Foundation, AMDF, has stated.
AMDF (a nongovernmental organisation, NGO), in a statement issued in Kaduna and made available to journalists, Monday, stated that, Police in Zaria area of Kaduna State arrested and detained one Mustapha Yauri, a Zaria correspondent of News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, for several hours.
According to the statement signed Program Officer of the AMDF, Joy Gadani, the journalist was covering a rift between trailer drivers and the Kaduna state traffic law enforcement agency, popularly known as KASTELEA, when he was arrested on, August 12th, 2020.
According to the release, Yauri had just concluded his interviews with eye
witnesses on the scene and had proceeded to take pictures when a plain-cloth officer attempted to seize his phone but later declined.
“The police officer, who I later learned that he is the Divisional Crime Officer, then called some armed police men and told them to take me to police station to detain me and bring my phone back to him.
“I was detained at the police station for many hours before the DPO, Mr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, came into the office and called me for a meeting in his office, where he apologized for what happened to me,” it stated.
Speaking with AMDF, Yauri said it was the most embarrassing thing that could happen to him. He said although, the District Police Officer, DPO, apologized, the officer responsible insisted he did nothing wrong worth apologizing.
Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Kaduna Council, Comrade Adamu Yusuf, also spoke to AMDF Press Freedom desk and lamented the ignorance of some men of the Nigeria Police Force, who still harass journalists on duty even with proper identification.
“Security operatives must learn to draw the line between performing their duties of securing lives and property and the abuse of power given to them by the constitution.
“AMDF strongly condemns the harassment and consequent detention of Mustapha Yauri,” he said, while calling on the Nigerian Police Force to give its men “necessary enlightenment” on the indispensable role of journalists in the society, and ensure proper conduct of their personnel, saying journalists in Nigeria must be allowed to perform their duties free from harassment as the Fourth Estate of the Realm.