by Sesan Olufowbi and Eniola Akinkuotu
Leadership Newspaper has petitioned the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umaru Manko, over the beating of its photojournalist, Benedict Uwalaka, by some mortuary attendants at the state’s University Teaching Hospital.
A legal practitioner, Adamu Ibrahim, in the petition urged Manko to take urgent action to investigate and arrest those behind the assault.
The petition was also sent to the state’s Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, LASUTH and the management of the mortuary.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command has asked the management of TOS Funerals to produce the employees accused of beating up Uwalaka.
The police said the culprits must report at Ikeja station unfailingly on Monday (today) and asked the company to cooperate fully as their identities were still unknown.
The Police Public Relations Officer for the state command, Ngozi Braide, said the men had not been arrested owing to the inability of the victim to identify the suspects properly but the police in Ikeja have asked the management to produce the suspects on Monday (today).
She said, “We have ordered the management to bring the offenders to the station on Monday”, she said.
The petition stated that Uwalaka explained that he was a journalist instructed by his employers to cover the event.
The explanation, however, fell on deaf ears as the attackers demanded that he released his camera to them.
The petition stated, “When they began to threaten the photojournalist, he tried to leave the area. Just as our client turned his back to take his leave, the said workers took the law into their hands and they beat our client mercilessly.
“Our client was at the mercy of his assailants, receiving continuous beating and torture. Our client took to his heels when he could no longer withstand the beating but the assailants would not stop beating him as there was nobody to rescue him.
“Whilst the assault lasted, our client was dispossessed of his camera, smart phones and the sum of N100, 000 by the assailants.”
The petition alleged while Uwalaka fell to the ground, two of his grabbed an empty bottle, broke it and stabbed the photojournalist, leaving him with a deep cut.
The petition stated, “Permit us to state here sir, that the act of the assailants to wit: threat to life, assault, accessioning harm, battery, being in possession of our client’s camera, smart phones and money with intent to permanently deprive him of the use of those items, amount to a crime punishable under the Criminal Code.”
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