The General Manager of Jamz 100.1 FM, Ibadan, Tony Awobode, on Tuesday, narrated how he was allegedly assaulted by the Iyaganku Divisional Police Officer and his men.
Mr Awobode, popularly called Don Tee, was riding a power bike along the Alesinloye area of Ibadan on Sunday when the DPO, Akintunde Oyeniran, allegedly claimed his bike hit his side mirror and descended heavily on him.
The DPO, whose sister station was about 200 metres away from the scene of the incident, asked for reinforcement of policemen who also continued the beating as they forcefully took the journalist away and detained him for hours in their facility.
The chairman of the Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ademola Babalola, condemned the alleged assault in a statement issued in Ibadan on Tuesday.
Mr Babalola called on the Police Commissioner in Oyo State, Ngozi Onadeko, to institute a probe into the matter with a view to getting justice for the assaulted journalist.
Narrating his ordeal to the NUJ chairman, Mr Awobode said “Chairman, it was a case of arbitrary use of naked power.’’
“On Sunday at about 8:30 a.m., I was coming from Ring-Road axis, Liberty Stadium to be precise, heading towards Eleiyele on a power bike.
“There was heavy traffic congestion at Kilometre 110. However, I managed to get to the junction of Iyaganku. I was on the left side of cars because I was going to take the left turn.
“In order to allow some of the commercial motorcycles to move so I could also have a passage, I tilted the power bike’s steering wheel a bit. After the passage of two to three bikes, I tried to straighten the wheel back.
“While trying to do that for balance, the clutch of the bike slightly tapped the side mirror of the car beside me, no damage done at all.
“I apologised and explained that it was not an intentional act, but the man started raining insults with words like ‘mad’, ‘stupid’, ‘crazy’, ‘foolish’. I repeated, ‘it wasn’t intentional.’
“Before I knew it, he stretched his hand out of his car and held my jacket, while he continued the insults. I got pissed, so I used his exact words back at him. Then those in the car with him joined in the assault.
“He then told them to come down and hold me, and started shouting ‘call the police!!! Let them arrest this man!’ He eventually managed to come down of the car, and this time grabbed my neck.
“I was shocked; really shocked at how the whole situation had so fast degenerated to the point where he had to grab me by the neck.
“Keeping my cool, I told him he could call whosoever he wanted to call. I would not run away, but he should stop his choke-hold on me.
“While that was happening, I noticed one of the guys with him went to the power bike and took my phone from the bike’s mount. So it was a dilemma. I told the guy to please return my phone, while I was telling the man to please leave my neck.
“And because he wasn’t going to let go of my neck, I told him I was going to count five. I did, he still didn’t let go. Suddenly, the next thing I had was a punch right across my face.
“As if that wasn’t enough, he still yanked off the helmet and ran multiple blows across my face. The bike fell, that again leaving me with injury on my leg, which I tried avoiding – the reason I held on to the handlebar since the whole drama started.
“Eventually, I was taken to Iyaganku police station with the bike, a stone throw from the junction where the whole drama took place.
“It was there I got to know that he was a Divisional Police Officer, Iyanganku, which even got me more perplexed,’’ he said.
The police spokesman in Oyo State, Adewale Osifeso, said the Commissioner of Police was already aware of the incident.
Mr Osifeso said an investigation was currently ongoing on the matter.