The Special Fraud Unit in Ikoyi, Lagos State, has continued to keep the ID card and phone of a reporter with The PUNCH, Toni Ufoh, who was manhandled for conducting an interview in front of the police office last Wednesday.
It is six days since the journalist was deprived the use of his phone and ID card, which are essential tools of his trade.
PUNCH Metro noted that the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had also yet to respond to an official complaint against the action of the power-drunk policemen, who claimed to be acting on the instruction of the SFU Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Zango.
Zango, who was recently appointed head of the police unit, took over from the former Commissioner of Police, Mr Anderson Bankole, who retired in December 2021.
PUNCH Metro had reported that Ufoh went to the Ikoyi office of the SFU to speak to some prospective tenants allegedly defrauded by a developer, Adewale Tunde.
Ufoh was said to be talking to the victims in front of the station when he was approached by the policemen, who accused him of filming the SFU building.
The men thereafter seized his telephone and ID card and threatened to lock him up with criminals.
All efforts to retrieve the items proved abortive, as the policemen manhandled Ufoh and deleted the pictures of the housing scam victims in his phone.
Despite the acting PUNCH Metro Head, Samson Folarin, intervention, the policemen refused to release our correspondent’s property.
The Editor, The PUNCH, Ademola Oni, in a petition to the IG, said attacks on PUNCH journalists by men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force had become frequent, as he charged the police boss to intervene and sanction the errant policemen.
“We also demand that these overzealous policemen be punished for taking the laws into their hands by attacking an innocent Nigerian, obstructing a journalist from carrying out his lawful duty, and dragging the image of the Force in the mud through their crudeness and brazen display of their self-imposed power,” the petition added.
The spokesperson for the SFU, Eyitayo Johnson, had said the reporter’s property was seized because he did not liaise with the office of the Public Relations Officer before conducting the interview on the premises of the station.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said, “The reporter will receive his property on Tuesday, which is not a public holiday.”
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