The police officers were said to be dragging and pushing a bus driver, during the time the reporter was on his way to the office. He decided to record the incident with his phone but the policemen pounced on him, punched, slapped, and handcuffed him to a bus despite identifying himself as a journalist.
The IPC described the incident as an “abominable act” by the policemen whose responsibility is to protect and defend members of the public instead of assaulting them.
In a statement by its Press Freedom Officer, Melody Lawal, the centre said, “The International Press Centre (IPC), condemns the assault on The Punch reporter, Matthew Agbaje, who was handcuffed to a commercial bus as he was punched and slapped for attempting to expose policemen on illegal duty at Berger bus stop on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Monday, July 18th, 2022.
“Reports reaching the IPC Safety Alert Desk indicate that Agbaje was on his way to the office when he saw some policemen, about five of them, dragging a bus driver. He was recording the incident with his phone when the policemen pounced on him, despite showing them his identity card.
“IPC totally condemns this abominable act by security operatives who are saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties. Journalists must be treated with dignity because of the important responsibility they have to the citizens and society.
“IPC is therefore calling for immediate action against the police officials involved. The Commissioner of Police should thoroughly investigate this incident and other illegal activities being carried out by police officials on that route. The perpetrators should be made to face the appropriate punishment for their actions.”
A regional quarterly report on Freedom of Expression (FOE) by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), published by SaharaReporters in May 2022 showed that Nigeria recorded 5 cases of freedom of expression violations.