New York, July 27, 2018– Nigerian musician Davido should hold accountable those responsible for the assault of Adekanmbi Damilola, CEO of the online entertainment news platform NoStoryTV, by a member of his private security team and ensure journalists can safely cover his events, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Damilola, who also reports for the Lagos-based NoStoryTV, told CPJ he was punched in the face by a security guard working for Davido Adeleke, better known by his stage name Davido, outside the artists’ tent during a July 21 concert in Nigeria’s southwestern Ibadan city.
The journalist told CPJ that he approached Davido’s security guard to request an interview with the musician and the guard told Damilola that cameras, which Damilola had with him, were not allowed inside. Damilola said he dropped off the camera and returned to request access again. The bouncer then punched Damilola, according to the journalist and Oduwole Tobi, the editor-in-chief of entertainment news outlet Cold Magazine who goes by “Brown.”
Tobi, who said he saw the altercation and wrote about it on Instagram, told CPJ that the security guard punched Damilola on the ground for two or three minutes. CPJ was unable to verify independently the duration of the assault on Damilola.
Video footage later appeared on an Instagram account called instablog9ja that showed Damilola lying disheveled on his back wearing a NoStoryTV shirt with blood on his face. Tobi denied posting the video and Damilola also told CPJ he did not know who posted the video.
The journalist said he remembers being punched and then woke up in Ibadan’s University College Hospital. Damilola told CPJ on July 25 that his eyes were swollen after being punched and he still had pain in his teeth and gums.
The journalist said he did not file a police report about the incident because he does not live in Ibadan and left after he was released from the hospital.
“Violence against journalists under any circumstances is totally unacceptable,” Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, said from Harare. “Davido and his team must act to ensure press covering their events are able to do their work without fear of assault.”
Damilola’s drone, which he was carrying at the time of the attack and which had a camera attached to it, was also damaged in the altercation, according to the journalist and a July 24 post on NoStoryTV’s Instagram.
Damilola said that prior to Davido’s arrival he had already conducted several interviews with other artists in the musicians’ tent, also referred to as the green room, and that he and four other NoStoryTV team members were given access tags that allowed them into the artists’ area.
Rotimi Ige Roy, media director of Ibadan Countdown, the entertainment company that helped organize and host the Ibadan concert, told CPJ on July 26 and 27 that the tags given to the NoStoryTV team only granted them official access to the VIP area and the stage, not the green room, and denied that Damilola’s equipment was damaged.
Roy said that he did not see the altercation directly, though “people around him” said that Davido’s guard punched Damilola in response to a first punch thrown by the journalist and that the guard did not continuously punch the journalist. The media director also said that he transported Damilola to the hospital.
A statement from Ibadan Countdown, published by the privately owned Nigerian newspaper Punch on July 24, denied claims that a reporter was “manhandled by security operatives” at the concert and claimed the reports of violence were a “calculated attempt to bring the event into disrepute.”
CPJ’s efforts to contact Davido and members of his team– including emails to the addresses listed on his website’s contact page, direct messages to Davido Adeleke’s personal Instagram account and the Instagram account of sirbanko, president of the Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) company, and calls to the number listed on the website of Davido’s record label, HKN Music– received no response.