A police officer attached to the Ebonyi State command on Tuesday assaulted a journalist, Sunday Agbo, for taking pictures of a car at an accident scene in Abakaliki, the state capital.
The police officer whose real name could not be ascertained but is popularly known as King Joe is attached to the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, F-SARS.
The incident took place along Ezza Road in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
Mr. Agbo, who works for Orient Daily Newspaper, alleged that the police officer swooped on him, slapped him repeatedly and seized his mobile phone for daring to take photographs of the vehicles involved in the accident.
The vehicle, a Toyota Corolla with registration number NASS FL 326 MGT, rammed into the pavement along Ezza Road in Abakaliki city.
The vehicle pulled down one of the street lights mounted on the pavement while the front bumper was badly damaged. The driver of the vehicle is said to be receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr. Agbo said that despite the fact that he took time to disclose his identity as a journalist to the curious police officer, he still detained him for more than three hours.
”I left my house very early as 6am to re-fill my cooking gas only to run into an accident scene which probably occurred the previous night along Ezza Road. Because picture cannot be underestimated in any reportage even though I had earlier ignored it, I made a U-turn to take some shots”
“I tried to do a paparazzi (take photos) but I could not get good shots. I took a more strategic position to take a better one, but suddenly in an unprofessional manner and worst global practice among security men, a blood thirty police officer whose name was given as King Joe attached to F-SARS, Ebonyi State police command swooped on me.
”He pounced on me, landed series of slaps on my face, threatened to shoot me, and above all, seized my phone. He remains an embarrassment to the police force nationwide”.
Mr. Agbo further disclosed that the officer further detained him their for more than three hours.
“He insisted that he had reported the matter to their boss, and that I should go there and make statement because of a crime of snapping picture.”
The officer, Mr. Agbo said, refused pleas from his colleagues and other person’s around the scene to let him go until a call was placed by one of his colleagues to their office.
“Their commander had to call him and ordered him to release me and give me back my phones before he did so”.
The journalist urged the Ebonyi State police command and the higher police authority to call their officials to order and stop them from harassing law-abiding citizens.
When contacted, the Ebonyi police commissioner,Titus Lamorde, apologised for the incident and promised to look into the incident.
He noted that the command under his leadership had had a cordial relationship with journalists.