In Nigeria, soldiers beat journalist covering demolition

Nigerian soldiers beat Leadership Newspapers reporter David-Chyddy Eleke, confiscated his camera, and arrested him for taking pictures of the demolition of buildings in Awka, in Anambra State in Nigeria’s southeast region on September 6, 2012, according to local journalists and news reports

Eleke told CPJ he identified himself as a journalist but one soldier slapped him while two others tore his shirt and dragged him into a van for refusing to surrender his company’s camera. Eleke said the soldiers, who were attached to officials of the Awka South Local Council Secretariat carrying out the demolition, threatened him not to answer his phone calls while they took him to the secretariat. His camera was taken and the pictures deleted, he said.

Eleke was released and his camera returned the same day, following intervention of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, who condemned the attack, his employer reported. Ekene Okoye, the chairman of the Awka South Local Council Secretariat, said Eleke did not get permission from the soldiers to take pictures of the demolition, according to news reports. Eleke’s assault comes a month after Benedict Uwalaka, another journalist with Leadership Newspapers, was assaulted on August 9, 2012, by mortuary attendants at a government hospital. A suspect has been arraigned in Uwalaka’s case.