Journalist Beaten by Police

APRIL 1, 2008
Posted June 11, 2008

Dave Amusa, The National Mirror

A journalist was beaten by police while reporting on council poll results from the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission premises in Port Harcourt on March 31.

Dave Amusa, the Rivers State correspondent for the Lagos-based National Mirror, said he showed his identity card and was cleared to enter the office of the secretariat. As he proceeded inside, however, he was ordered to turn back by a policeman in the gatehouse, who then accused Amusa of being disrespectful after Amusa protested that he should be allowed in.

Roughly 10 policemen joined the dispute, kicking and hitting Amusa with their guns, journalists who witnessed the assault told CPJ.

He had been among several journalists invited by the commission to cover the council elections. Lawson Heyford of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and others rushed to save him from the police attack, before he was taken to a Port Harcourt hospital for treatment.
Some witnesses, as well as Amusa himself, thought the incident was a ploy to reduce access to the commission by reporters who might raise critical questions about the election results.