Abuja, June 18, 2012–Nigerian authorities must investigate the assault on a Nigerian journalist on June 14 and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. News accounts reported that the attack occurred in the presence of military and police officers who did not come to the journalist’s aid.
Bashir Abdullahi, a journalist with the daily Daily Trust, was covering a seminar at the Federal Secretariat in Port Harcourt, in Rivers State, when officials of the Rivers State Environmental Task Force, escorted by military personnel, assaulted him, he told CPJ. “One of them slapped me twice on the face, hit me on my shoulder, and seized my phone. I complained to the soldiers, who told me to solve the problem myself,” he said.
Abdullahi told CPJ he was wearing his ID card that identified him as a journalist when he was assaulted. He also said that David Iyofo, the spokesman for the Rivers State governor, helped him recover his phone the next day.
“We condemn the assault on Bashir Abdullahi who was attacked just for doing his job,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. “We call on the authorities to investigate the attack and hold to account the officials who were involved.”
A spokesman for the task force told CPJ he was aware of the incident but that no immediate action could be taken since the alleged assault did not involve members of the military.