The #RevolutionNow protest staged in Ore town in Ondo State was on Monday violently disrupted by the police who brutalised and arrested a journalist in the process.
Tosin Ajuwon, a journalist with Sahara Reporters, was assaulted and afterwards arrested by police officers while covering the protest.
The police chased away the protesters, who had mounted a blockade at the Benin-Ore expressway after dragging away the journalist in handcuffs.
Mr Ajuwon was arrested along with another protester, who was simply identified as Jelil.
Narrating his ordeal after his release, Mr Ajuwon said his efforts to explain himself were ignored by the armed security operatives.
He said he was treated like a criminal as the fierce-looking officers seized his recording gadgets and bundled him into a waiting van.
“I was covering a group of protesters of the #RevolutionNow who were making attempt to block the Benin-Ore expressway when the policemen stormed the road and chased them away,” Mr Ajuwon said.
“While all the chasing of protesters was going on, one of the officers who was heavily armed came to ask why I was filming and I immediately identified myself as a journalist covering the protest.
“He asked who gave me the authority to start covering protest in Ore, I told him I have the constitutional right as a journalist to do so, more so that it is in a public place.
“In fact, I have to tell him that the demonstrators also have the lawful right to assembly as granted under section 40 of the constitution so far their actions are peaceful.
“I feel they (officers) were angered by these statements and they immediately arrested me.
“They collected my phone and bundled me into the police waiting van for trying to perform my duty as a journalist
“I was manhandled and handcuffed while they dragged me like a criminal. One of them even slapped me repeatedly.
“They drove me to the Ore Area Command with one other guy that was arrested among the demonstrators.”
He said they were made to write statements after which they were detained for several hours during which they were interrogated.
Mr Ajuwon noted that it was the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of the Ore command, who intervened after he found out he was a journalist. The officer ordered that he be released at about 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, the #RevolutionNow protest was disrupted as armed security agents chased the protesters away.
Reacting, Abiodun Oyekan, one of the coordinators of Coalition for Revolution (Core) in Ondo state, described the action of the police as barbaric.
“We condemn the action of the police to disperse law-abiding citizens who are agitating for an egalitarian society in Ore today,” he said.
“They have shown force against us but nothing shall discourage us from agitating for freedom and we use this medium to also call for the release of the journalist who was arrested by the police in Ore.
“We have all gathered to raise our voices for a free, quality and compulsory education at all levels. We also want a democratic end to the issues of insecurity in the country and asked the government to pay the minimum wage while also placing all politicians on minimum wage.”
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