Photo Credit: Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com).

On June 11, police officers in Kaduna, the capital city of Nigeria’s northern Kaduna State, arrested Gabriel Idibia, a correspondent and freelancer with the privately owned Daily Times and Daybreak Nigeria news sites, while he was taking photos of the officers guiding a large group of cattle across a road, according media reports, Idibia and Daybreak Nigeria publisher Austin Maho, who both spoke to CPJ. 

Idibia said he was driving to work around 8:30 a.m. when he noticed an unusual number of cows causing a traffic jam on a highway in Sabo, a town within Kaduna. The road was divided in two lanes, and the cows were being escorted in one lane by armed police officers driving in two official vans.

With plans to report on the movement of the cows, Idibia said he approached two officers separately to inquire about what was happening, but they did not respond to his inquiries. When Idibia took the photograph, one of the officers seized his phone, and another officer collected Idibia’s media ID card, he told CPJ. 

Idibia said the officers ordered him to enter their van, and they drove him to the police station where one of the officers chastised him for asking questions about their police work and punched Idibia in his left eye, causing the journalist to fall on the floor.  

Idibia said the officers compelled him to write a statement saying that he disrupted their work, instructed the journalist to unlock his phone and delete the photo he had taken of the cows before returning his device and ID card and releasing him around 6 p.m. that day. 

Immediately after his release, Idibia went to the office of the state police spokesperson, Mansur Hassan, and reported how he had been treated, according to Idibia and Maho. Hassan told Idibia that his claims would be investigated.

Idibia told CPJ that he received medical care at a local hospital, was using medication to treat his eye, and could not see clearly.

CPJ contacted Hassan by phone, and he requested questions via text message but did not reply to those questions after they were sent.

Source of original article: Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj.org).
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