Four days after Mr. Benedict Uwalaka, a senior photo journalist with the Leadership Newspaper, was pummeled by mortuary attendants at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Ikeja, Lagos, southwest Nigeria, two photo journalists were again battered yesterday by thugs on an Iddo-bound train in Lagos.
The journalists, Mr. Idowu Ogunleye, photo editor of TheNews/P.M.NEWS and Mr. Tunde Ogundeji, the former photo editor of the Compass Newspaper, were assaulted as they were taking pictures of passengers hanging and sitting precariously on top of the moving train.
Ogundeji, now a freelance photo journalist, sustained a head injury while Ogunleye lost the memory card of his Canon D40 camera.
The journalists were in Ikeja when they noticed that many passengers were hanging on the train and they took photographs from a pedestrian bridge nearby.
“They beat me. They hit me in the head until I ran to the police station at the Ikeja Local Government. I had given my camera to someone else and since they did not see me with the camera, they started beating me,” Ogundeji told P.M.NEWS yesterday after the incident. He said they went to report the matter at the State Traffic Division but the policemen said they were only in charge of traffic and not criminal activities taking place in the area. “We want the government to create more awareness about our job,” Ogunleye said.
“We are not enemies of the society. We also want fellow journalists to start writing about us again in opinion articles and editorial so that the society can understand what our role is.”
Following these unending attacks on journalists, the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has planned to stage a protest against this ugly trend.