For reporting how policemen indiscriminately shot at the residents of a house in Ikota, Lagos, while responding to a distress call, Lagos Police Commissioner, Umar Manko, on Tuesday ordered a reporter with The Punch newspapers, Kunle Falayi, out of the Police command headquarters.
Mr. Falayi was at the police headquarters in Ikeja to report a briefing and the parade of some suspected criminals when the police chief singled him out from other reporters and told his orderly to walk him out of the premises.
“So, you’re the one who wrote this rubbish?” asked Mr Manko. “Were you there when the policemen shot the security guard? You people like to write rubbish.”
Mr. Manko said Falayi stories published in the newspaper on Monday and Tuesday was an affront on police integrity.
Mr Falayi had reported that policemen, who had been called to foil a robbery, shot a banker, Femi Badejo, and the security guard at his house, Joshua Musa.
According to residents of the house, the police had characteristically arrived after the robbers had left and started shooting indiscriminately at the residents even after they had identified themselves as the occupants of the house and victims of the robbery.
Spokesperson of the state police command had admitted at the time of the initial report that the policemen had shot Mr Badejo because they thought he was one of the robbers. But she said the robbers shot Mr Musa.
“As the policemen were going to the house, an occupant of the house was communicating with them on the phone, saying the robbers were still on the premises. That is probably why they shot at the banker when they got to the house,” she said.
The police commissioner’s action again highlighted the disdain with which reporters are treated by the police and other security agencies in the country.
Several reporters had been physically brutalised and their equipment seized or smashed while doing their legitimate job by policemen, soldiers and men of other state-owned security agencies.