Deputy editor of Daily Post, Wale Odunsi has narrowly missed death when he was molested by security aides attached to Government House, Kogi in Lokoja.
A man dressed in mobile police personnel at the Government House slapped the editor before threatening to shoot him. Odunsi had travelled to the state to honour an invitation to the rescheduled Kogi State Social Media Summit.
The programme was slated for Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th October 2017. Those invited were also scheduled to meet Governor Yahaya Bello at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Lokoja, Kogi State.
Narrating the incident to newsmen, Odunsi said it was divine intervention that saved him from being killed.
He said: “When I got there, I called to the special assistant to the Governor on New Media, Joel Odaudu Minister, that I was on my way to the Govt. House.
“I got there and walked towards the gate. As I approached the gate directly opposite entrance of the governor’s wife office entrance, one of the protocol officials wearing White native charged towards me.
“In an unruly manner, he queried why I was trying to barge into the premises. So I asked ‘Oga, you didn’t have to shout at me like that. I was only looking for who to ask for direction’.
“Apparently infuriated by my guts, he dragged and pushed me away. Within seconds, a mobile policeman got up and slapped me. He used abusive words and warned me to moved away. But I kept asking what I did to warrant the treatment.
“At this point, the protocol officer and two mobile policemen were taking turns to hit me on the chest while pushing me backwards; one slapped me the second time.
“I calmly walked some meters away and called Joel, the governor’s aide. As soon as he came, the security officials cornered him and were trying to change the story.
“I hurriedly strolled to where they were and insisted to know why I was assaulted. By this time, one of the policemen I believe is superior and another man wearing a blue safari suit and white T-shirt warned me to leave the area of face the consequences.
“The policeman’s eyes were red as if thirsty for blood. He kept screaming that he will punish me mercilessly. So I called his name out, Iliya Ali: I told him to his face that I will report the incident to appropriate authority.
“On hearing that I called his name, he reached for his holster and attempted to bring out his gun. He said: ‘I will show you if na your mama, your papa or your any person you wan report me to give me name’.
“He also asked the Governor’s aide to leave the scene so he can deal with me. All the while, he was trying to bring out his gun while the governor’s aide was asking him calm down.
“I sensed he might make real his threat so I stopped another Okada and left the scene. I spoke to the Force spokesman, who sent Kogi CP’s number. I tried to reach him but it wasn’t successful, so I sent him sms.
“I have left the state already before my time is cut short,” he narrated.
A Chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and former Kogi State gubernatorial aspirant, Chief Goodman Akwu, described the attack as unfortunate, saying governor Bello has turned Nigeria Police personnel into attack dogs.
Reacting to the incident in Abuja on Friday, the politician cum human right activist noted that incessant attacks on journalists and those perceived as traducers of Bello’s administration were quite unfortunate.
He recalled that a journalist working for channels television was attacked three weeks ago, describing the trend as a manifestation of an intolerable leader.
According to him, Kogi under Yahaya Bello has never been in the public for good, while counselling the governor to tone down the posture of attacks by his administration.
Questioning the rationale behind sponsoring a workshop for journalists only for one of them to be attacked, he said:
“How can you invite journalists for workshop which you must be expecting visitors only for agents working for you to attack them?”
“The other day, Mr. Segun Salami of Channels Television was attacked in Lokoja and I keep wondering, why can’t the Police be professional for once?”
“The governor and his team are always angry, either for something or for nothing, while those he is governing are hungry for lack of salaries and are under attacks. So how do reconcile these?”
“As I speak, if they are uncomfortable with you, they will go after you and hound you into detention cell in government house.”
Akwu called on the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and the newly posted Commissioner of Police to redeploy police officers who have worked with Bello in the last few months, noting that they have compromised equity and fairness in matter of security in the State.
“Again, the other day, government sponsored thugs were unleashed on the State Assembly with Police complicity and here we are. Do we realise now that something fundamentally is wrong in the state?” he insisted.
He cautioned journalists to be wary of state governors who is mired in governance controversy, adding that they would always use them to cover misdeeds.
The International Press Centre (IPC) has condemned the continuous attack on journalists by security men at the Kogi State Government House.
The Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a statement described the assault on journalists by security men attached to the Kogi state government house, as a great concern to the press and all its stakeholders.
“Only three weeks ago, Mr. Segun Salami of Channels Television was reportedly beaten up, dragged on the floor and locked up in the government house cell. This calls for serious concern and attention by all concerned parties,” Arogundade said.
“IPC is therefore urging the Kogi State Governor and the state Commissioner of Police to immediately probe this growing trend of attack on journalists within the premises of the State house and take necessary actions against the erring security personnel, in order to forestall a re-occurrence.”