The Nigeria Union of Journalists Oyo State Council on Tuesday condemned in strong terms the assault on the General Manager of Jamz 100.1 FM in Ibadan, Mr. Tony Awobode by the Eleyele Police DPO and his men.
Awobode popularly called Don Tee was riding a power bike along Alesinloye area of the city when the DPO allegedly claimed his bike hit his side mirror and descended heavily on the hapless journalist.
As if that was not enough, the DPO whose sister station was about 200 metres away from the scene of the incident, asked for the reinforcement of his policemen who also continued the beating as they forcefully took the journalist away and detained him for hours in their facility.
Narrating his ordeal to the NUJ Chairman, Comrade Ademola Babalola, Awobode said “Chairman, it was a case of arbitrary use of naked power.”
He narrated as follows: “On Sunday at about 8:30AM- 9AM, I was coming from Ring-Road axis, Liberty stadium to be precise, headed towards Eleyele on a power bike. I was headed towards Eleyele. But there was a 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 bikes(okada) move so I can also have a pass of way, 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, and 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.
“Absolutely none. And in my exact words to apologise, ‘it wasn’t intentional…’ The man wound down and 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 on him. Then those in the car with him joined in the insult.
“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 wants to call, I wasn’t going anywhere, however leave my neck. I was already getting chocked. 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 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.
“That wouldn’t have been possible if I was shielded with my helmet, but it’s modular helmet. Just so he could hear me, I had lifted the front part leaving my face exposed. As if that wasn’t enough, he still yanked off the helmet, and ran multiple blows across my face. There is a video I made to this effect. I blanked out, and the bike fell, that again leaving me with injury on my leg, which I tried avoiding— the reason I held on to the handle bar 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, Eleyele, which even got me more perplexed,” he concluded.
Babalola who was taken aback by the whole development, called on the State Police Commissioner, CP Ngozi Onadeko to institute a probe into the matter with a view of getting justice for the assaulted journalist.