Police rescue The Guardian reporter from lynching at Ajeromi-Ifelodun rerun polls
Save for the timely intervention of policemen on election duty, Emeka Nwachukwu, a reporter with The Guardian would have been hacked to death by some party loyalists who were uncomfortable with the presence of a journalist in their polling unit at the just concluded Ajeromo/Ifelodun rerun election.
The reporter, who visited about four polling units before arriving PU 030/Tolu at Bale Alayabiagba in Ajegunle, was attacked by hoodlums that alleged he was a hired journalist of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The journalist on official duty was busy taking note after speaking to some party agents and electoral officials about the successes and challenges of the election when he was confronted by three men who claimed they had been monitoring him.
While explaining his reason for being there, the men pushed him out of the voting area, saying they were interrogating who had sent the reporter. All efforts to identify himself as a journalist failed as his identity card was dragged and torn while some claimed they saw him during the last general elections posing as a PDP agent.
Drawing out several objects including penknife, razor blades and daggers, the thugs surrounded the reporter threatening to hack him to death and subsequently burn his body to teach him bitter lessons before he was rescued by a team of police officers led by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Omini Usang.
Despite the presence of the police, though unarmed, the thugs insisted of having a free reign by meting out jungle justice on the journalist.
Inspite of their insistence, the DSP ordered that the reporter be kept in custody of police officers on election duty in one of the shops close by. Yet, the hoodlums still made several attempts to invade the shop and carry out their threats.
One Alhaji who promised to give the reporter a parting gift from the hood of Ajegunle quickly rushed to his house and returned in five minutes with a ring in his hands. Looking at the journalist and chanting some incantations, he made efforts to touch the reporter but was held back by the police.
Another who alleged the wristwatch and phone of the reporter had incriminating recorded contents threatened to shoot him if the gadgets weren’t destroyed. The DSP, however, retrieved the gadgets from the reporter.
Realizing the inherent danger brewing in the area, the officer opted to arrest the journalist and keep him in police custody at their station. Two motorcycle riders who tried to help the police to move the reporter to Ajeromi Police Station received the battering of their lives until they found their way to escape from the area.
It took the efforts of about six other police officers to guard a bike man who conveyed the reporter under the protection of a sergeant to the station amidst efforts to puncture the tyres of the motorcycle.
The reporter was held in what is believed to be ‘protective custody” at the station’s counter from 11:00a.m. till about 2:00p.m. when the Divisional Police Officer arrived confirming that nothing implicating was found on the reporter’s phone.
The DPO, who urged for more carefulness, ordered that any similar video of the election area be deleted before the reporter is allowed to go home with his gadgets. He was escorted by DSP Omini who ensured he got a bike to take him to Mile 2, an area considered safe before he was left alone.
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