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Police accused of brutalising Kaduna journalist for snapping cattle in officers’ custody on highway

A KADUNA-BASED journalist, Idibia Gabriel, said he has been brutalised by officers of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) in the state for taking their pictures while transporting a herd of cattle they seized from a forest.

Idibia said he suffered eye injuries as a result of the torture and inhumane treatment meted out to him by the aggrieved officers. The Police have however denied claims of torture and brutalisation. 

In a chat with The ICIR on Thursday, June 20, Idibia said the incident happened on a public road on Tuesday, June 11.

According to him, he was apprehended and whisked to the CID Police Station in the Gabasawa area, in Kaduna, the state capital, on the allegation that he snapped them while they were transporting the cattle to an unknown destination.

The incident occurred around the Valid Oil filling Station, located near the busy Kachia Expressway at Angwan Boro, Kaduna, at about 8:30 in the morning.

X- Ray result of Gabriel Idibia as obtained by The ICIR
Gabriel Idibia X-ray result as obtained by The ICIR

He said he was detained and then freed in the evening after he was brutalised and the images he took were deleted from his phone.

He noted that following the brutal treatment he received while under police detention at the CID, Kaduna branch office, he was discharged with near blindness in one eye.

“I am at the National Eye Centre now. I heard that there was a crisis at the Express where I live in Angwan Boro, Sabo Area. So I rushed outside to see what the cause was. I saw many policemen guiding a large number of cattle from the refinery side and heading towards Sabo.

“So I approached a policeman and asked him what the problem was and he shunned me. I approached another one, and he too shunned me, so I took a shot of the cattle as they were moving to go and clarify with the PRO because most times, if you tell him they will deny that nothing like that happened. As soon as I took the shot, the one coming next to me, seized my phone. I rushed and followed him and showed him my ID card that I am a journalist, and he collected the ID card.

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He said he was in the police vehicle for hours with two other persons. According to him, one of the suspects was arrested for a similar offence while the other one was picked up for trying to obstruct the Police vehicle.

“He said I should stand up and write my statement. I wanted to manage to write but I could not see well so they took me outside and asked me to write by force. I wrote according to their instruction, they said I should write that I was trying to obstruct them. I said I didn’t obstruct them, and they said I should write. So I wrote that I obstructed them, they took the statement from me and went to rewrite it and the IPO signed it.

“We sat down from 12 noon till 6 pm before they released me on self-recognition,” Idibia said.

Responding through a chat with The ICIR on Thursday, June 20, the spokesperson of the Kaduna Police Command, Mansir Hassan, confirmed the arrest but insisted that Idibia was not brutalised in any way.

“He was in my office. Nobody brutalised him. He is our friend. Immediately after the incident, he was in my office. So I was surprised when I read that he was brutalised.

“No sign of injury when he came to our office. In fact, we have CCTV cameras in our office, we have everything. There is no way we will allow any of our men to brutalise any journalist,” Hassan stated.

According to the PRO, Idibia was arrested when policemen came out from the forest after rescuing some cattle and he was seen recording them.

“They arrested him and immediately they brought him to the office, they discovered that he was a journalist and released him on self-recognition and immediately he came to my office,” Hassan added.

He, however, promised to take the journalist to the state’s Commissioner of Police when he returns from his trip.




     

     

    Attacks and harassment of journalists by security operatives have remained a great concern in Nigeria.

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    The ICIR reported in December 2023 how security agents abused their power and flouted the Nigerian Constitution by harassing 39 journalists in the line of duty, nationwide.

    Four reporters with The ICIR were harassed by state actors in the line of duty that year.

    Meanwhile, in 2024, the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre in Abuja invited and detained The ICIR’s executive director, Dayo Aiyetan, and reporter, Nurudeen Akewushola, over an investigation of sleazes in which its former Inspector-Generals were complicit.

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    Bankole Abe
    Reporter at ICIR | [email protected] | Author Page

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