Niger: Police attack journalists investigating LG election official

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Battered Emperor Simon, Channels TV Reporter

From Mathew Jwantu, Minna

Police on Tuesday assaulted a Journalist in Central Nigeria’s Niger State, Mr. Emperor Simon.

Simon, a Correspondent of Lagos-based Channels TV was attacked along with his cameraman, Abdullahi Egba in Tafa Local Government Area, while investigating a local election official.

The Tafa LGA Returning Officer during the State’s Local Government polls reportedly disappeared without declaring the election leading to widespread protests.

The Channels TV crew was assaulted when they run into one of the protests, it was learnt.

Mr. Simon reported that “No sooner had the protesters started blocking the Kaduna Abuja highway that the Policemen at the Tafa local government Secretariat started firing teargas canisters and live ammunitions to disperse protesters.

“They also beat me up with stick and gun butts and whisked my Cameraman away to the Divisional headquarters in Sabon Wuse.”

Though the cameraman has been released, the State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has vowed to retaliate if the “harassment” and “intimidation” of its members by securities continued.

In a statement jointly signed by the NUJ chairman, Alhaji Abdu Idris and the Secretary, Abu Nmodu, the Union said the assault coming few days after its national officers who were on duty tour of the state adjudged Niger as one of the journalists-friendly state, was “distasteful and unacceptable”.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has also condemned the assault of the journalists and protesters “inhuman and undemocratic.”

The State Secretary of the Party, Barrister Suleiman Zhigun alleged “foul-play” by the Niger State Independent Electoral Commission to cover its corrupt practices.

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