How Police brutalised, arraigned journalist for covering EndSARS protest in Osogbo
TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Some armed policemen led by the Divisional Police Officer, Dugbe Division, Osogbo, CSP Oyegbade Akinloye, on Wednesday, brutalised the state correspondent of Daily Post, Sikiru Obarayese, for covering the ENDSARS memorial protest in Osogbo.
After beating Obarayese till he sustained injuries on his hand, eyes and legs, the Police DPO ordered that the journalist be arraigned in court.
There had been tension and heavy security presence at strategic locations in the state capital as some aggrieved youths embarked on protest in commemoration of one year anniversary of the #EndSARS incident.
The youths, who carried banner and placards, chanted anti-government songs as they marched from Ita-Olokan area through Oja-Oba, Station Road, Post Office, Old-Garage and Oke-Fia areas of Osogbo.
When the protesters gathered at Oke-Fia, a team of policemen stormed the environment and dispersed the youths. The police in the state had warned against protest and demonstration of any kind.
Another team of policemen led by the Divisional Police Officer, Dugbe Division, Osogbo, CSP Oyegbade Akinloye, pounced on a journalist, Sikiru Obarayese, the correspondent of Daily Post online medium at Old Garage and assaulted him.
Mr Ibrahim Adeyemi, a journalist with Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) told our correspondent that no fewer than 12 cops, under the supervision of the DPO, brutalised Obarayese before he was arrested and dragged to the Dugbe Police Station.
“Despite showing the policemen his identity card, about twelve of them slapped and kicked Obarayese severally. They dragged him to their station,” Adeyemi said.
Other journalists covering the protest were said to have fled the scene of the protest to prevent arrest by the police operatives.
Few minutes after Obarayese was arrested and allegedly beaten, the DPO ordered some operatives to charge him to court.
The journalist was arraigned before an Osogbo Magistrate’s Court for allegedly videoing the DPO and assaulting him during the ENDSARS remembrance protest in Osogbo.
The charge sheet obtained by our correspondent reads: “That you Sikiru Obarayese, on the 20th October, 2021 at about 1:00pm at Old Garage Area, Osogbo, did conduct yourself in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by videoing the Divisional Police Officer, Dugbe Division, Osogbo.
“That you (Obarayese), at the same time, place and date, did assault one CSP Oyegbade Akinloye, the DPO of Dugbe Division, while discharging his official duty at Freedom Park, Osogbo.”
The police argued that the journalist committed offences contrary to and punishable under Sections 249(D) and 356 of the Criminal Code, Cap 34, Vol II Laws of Osun State, 2002.
The journalist pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge slammed against him. He had no legal representation.
Police prosecutor, Inspector Kayode Adeoye, informed the court that the state Commissioner of Police, Wale Olokode had directed him to withdraw the matter because Obarayese is a journalist and that he was carrying out his duty.
Magistrate O. A. Daramola, who queried the prosecutor on what prevents the journalist from videoing the DPO if he was not doing anything negative, ordered that the matter be struck out and discharged Obarayese.
Recounting his ordeal, Obarayese, who showed the injuries he sustained on his leg, eye and hand, lamented that he was thoroughly beaten by twelve armed policemen both at the scene of the protest and at the Dugbe police station.
“I was covering the ENDSARS remembrance protest before some policemen approached me and asked me to identify myself. I told them I am a journalist and displayed my identity card, they started slapping and kicking me,” he said.