Journalist Arrested, Forced to Delete Photographs

On January 25, 2017, Ms Ujunwa Atueyi, a journalist with the privately owned Newspaper, ‘The Guardian’ was arrested by policemen and officials of the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences  who raided some motorists and passers-by, along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in Lagos. She was forced to delete pictures of their activities that she took before being released.

When one of the officials saw her taking photographs of the scene, he called his colleagues and they ran to where she was. Thereafter they forcefully snatched the mobile phone she was using to capture the raid after forcing her into the waiting Black Maria despite identifying herself as a journalist carrying out her lawful duty

The officer, who led the team yelled at the reporter in anger threatening to take her to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and also sue her for taking pictures of their activities.

Ujunwa and two others who were arrested were driven away in the Black Maria. At a point, she was secluded from the two others with whom she was arrested before she was made to alight from the Black Maria and board the Toyota Hilux van by the team leader who said, among other things, “I don’t like infringing on people’s rights.”

He asked her: “Why were you taking those shots? Did you know we could take you to court? Do you know the governor is aware we are on this mission? You want to write bad report against us? Why didn’t you ask what the man did before taking the photographs?”

Shortly after, he compelled her to delete the photographs she had taken and then collected and checked the camera to ensure that she had actually deleted the photographs.

Thereafter, he ordered the van driver to stop at Mile 2, a Lagos bus terminus, where he told the journalist: “Madam, you can come down here, we are sorry for the stress we caused you.”

The van zoomed off after she alighted.

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