Following an attempt by protesters of Revolution Now to shutdown the Benin-Ore highway during the protest, a journalist as well as one of the protesters were arrested by armed security agents in Ondo State on Monday.
It was gathered that Tosin Ajuwon, a journalist with Sahara Reporters was assaulted before being arrested by security agents.
Ajuwon was covering the RevolutionNow protest in Ore city when he was accosted and brutalized by armed policemen from the Ore Divisional Police Station.
The police had immediately chased away the protesters shortly after the arrest of the Ondo-based journalist alongside one of the protesters identified as Oladipupo Jelili.
Narrating his ordeal to journalists after his release, Ajuwon explained that all effort to explain his identify fell on the deaf ears of the armed policemen.
He said he was treated like a criminal as the fierce-looking policemen seized his recording gadget and bundled him into a waiting van.
“I was covering some 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.
“While it was going on, one of the officers who was heavily armed came to ask why I was filming and I easily identified myself as a journalist covering the protest.
“He immediately 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 and demonstrate so far their actions are peaceful.
“I feel they (policemen) 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.
“The policemen made us to write a statement and kept me in custody for several hours interrogating me.
“It was the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Charge of the Ore command that came to intervene and having found out that I am a journalist ordered his men to release me at about 4 pm,” Tosin said.
Meanwhile, the RevolutionNow protest could not hold in Ore as armed security agents chased the protestors who had gathered on the road away.
Reacting, Abiodun Oyekan, one of the coordinators of Coalition for Revolution, CORE, in Ondo state described the action of the policemen as barbaric.
“We condemn the action of the police to disperse law abiding citizens who are agitating for an egalitarian society in Ore today.
“They have shown force against us but nothing shall discourage us in agitating for freedom.
“We have all gathered to raise out our voice 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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