Personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps attached to the Nasarawa State Pensions Bureau in Lafia, have attacked journalists for taking pictures of a document pasted on the board’s notice board.
The journalists – Rabiu Omaku of Universal Reporters, an online medium, and Gambo Ahmed of Peoples Daily – had gone to the bureau and were taking photographs of the list of de-listed pensioners pasted on the notice board on Friday, when they were attacked.
Omaku told the News Agency of Nigeria that he went to the pensions bureau after receiving information that some pensioners had been de-listed for allegedly dragging the state government to court over their entitlements.
He said: “When I arrived the office, I went to the notice board to snap the names pasted on it, but the bureau’s Information Officer, Ibrahim Dawaya, directed personnel of the NSCDC to seize my phone.
“I was surprised and refused to surrender the phone which infuriated them and they pounced on me.
“One of them started hitting me on my face, while the other broke my head with the butt of his gun.
“Not long after, other journalists were alerted and they rushed in to intervene, but the security personnel did not spare them. They started beating them, injuring Gambo Ahmed of People’s Daily in the process.”
NAN reports that the victims are currently receiving treatment at the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia.
Meanwhile, the Commandant of NSCDC in the state, Malam Mohammad Mahmoud-Fari, has condemned the assault on the journalists.
He said: “I have deployed our intelligence officers to ascertain what really happened; I will get to the root of this incident, sure.
“I want to assure you that all those found to have been involved in the assault will be punished.”
Suleiman Abubakar, Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel in Nasarawa State, condemned the attack and called for more protection for journalists.
He said: “We cannot continue like this; journalists have become easy prey for security agents.
“The action of the pension bureau officials clearly indicates that they have something to hide; otherwise, why will they batter a journalist obtaining information from a notice board?”