Journalist attacked by FRSC officials in Abuja

A journalist, Mustapha Usman, has been assaulted by some Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) officers near the Corps’ Zone 7 FCT Command office in Abuja on Monday while on official duty.

The reporter, who was beaten by the FRSC personnel, had his identification card confiscated while he was trying to report an incident around Wuye Junction on the Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway.

According to a report by his employers, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), the FRSC officials had accused a woman of violating traffic laws near Wuye Bridge, which is currently under construction on the expressway. Mustapha, who saw the officers forcefully grabbing the steering wheel from the woman identified as Esther Oluwatimileyin, tried to capture the incident on video.

“I got closer and noticed that officers were already forcibly taking control of the steering wheel from her. Other officers were surrounding her car, and they later deflated her car tyres.

“I tried to record the event on video. When the situation became intense, one of the officers came to disperse the crowd. They also attempted to pull me away, but I made them understand I was a journalist. I showed them my ID card, but they didn’t pay attention.

“They started slapping me. About five of them surrounded and attacked me. I can’t even recall exactly how many of them beat me because it was close to their office, and there were many. I was retrieving my ID card from the floor when one hit me and took it away,” the journalist narrated.

He identified two of the officers at the scene as one ‘Saliu’ and ‘M. Yahaya’ according to name tags on their uniforms.

However, reacting to the incident, the FCT Sector Commander, Muta Chorrie, blamed the journalist for recording the officers “while doing their job”, describing what he did as disrespectful and malicious.

He also accused Esther of violating the traffic law by using her phone to check Google Map while driving. He accused her of insulting his officers, making them deflate her car tyres.

Speaking about his ordeal in the hands of the FRSC personnel, Mustapha simply said: “Sadly, journalists experience that often in Nigeria.”

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