VIO harass journalist for recording assault on a taxi driver

The journalist was harassed for allegedly recording an assault on a taxi driver in Abuja – According to the journalist, the VIO officers smashed his Droidpad during the encounter An managing editor of Daily Times Nigeria, Bonaventure Melah, has been assaulted by some officials of the Federal Capital Territory Directorate of Road Traffic Services, Wuye sector command. Melah was alleged attacked for recording the Vehicle Inspection Officers who beat up a taxi driver in Abuja. The officials were said to have also smashed Melah’s Droidpad during the encounter. Melah told Northern City news that he has also instructed his lawyer to take legal action against the DRTS for the assault. He also said he had petitioned the Nigerian Union of Journalists over the attack which happened along Osun Crescent, Off IBB Way, Maitama, Abuja on May 22.. He said: “At about 8.30am, there was a loud noise outside and when we looked through the window, we saw a large gathering of people as some Vehicle Inspection Officers, many of who were in mufti descended on a taxi driver, giving him several blows.

“The commotion led to the blockage of the roads by the traffic light directly opposite BPE and Habiba Plaza. The official vehicle that brought the men were unmarked and without number plate. There were some armed policemen and civil defence officers with them. The VIO officers were not in uniform, so there was no difference between them and street urchins or thieves. To carry out my duties as a journalist, I had gone out to make inquiries as well as take visuals of the crisis, but immediately they saw me, many of the VIO officers rushed and held me. I was rough-handled and shoved while one of them slapped me before grabbing my professional tool, a DroiPad 7D. One of them, a huge muscular black man in blue jean and T-shirt smashed the DroidPad with his clenched fist and broke the screen. “By then, they had pushed me down to the ground with many feet stomping on me.

The level of the assault on me however attracted some onlookers who held the man with my tablet and insisted he released the device until he let go of it,” Melah added. He also noted that the VIOs jumped into their vehicles immediately they realised he was a journalists. “When I and Ayeni, the driver of the taxi that was taken away got to the VIO station in Wuye, we saw that his car was parked there already with the tyres deflated. A few minutes later, some of the VIO men began to arrive one after the other.

“To my greatest surprise, most of them came in with different taxis which on inquiry, I was told were seized from other people,” he said. However, in his response, the director of VIO, Farouk Wadata, said no formal report had been lodged with him in respect of the incident. He said he heard the report of the incident on the radio and visited the Wuye Sector Command to inquire about it, but they denied that such an incident occurred. “On my own, when I heard about the incident, I drove to Wuye and asked the area commander but he said they didn’t have such a report. Before I could finish the investigation that night, a radio station reported the incident. Till now, I have not met the complainant, he has not reported the matter to me officially or unofficially,” Wadata said. NAIJ.com earlier reported that the Nigeria Police arrested a notorious kidnap gang who abducted one

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