The Nigerian Union of Journalists, Lagos State Chapter, says it will sue the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over the battering of its member, Yomi Olomofe, by suspected smugglers in the Seme, Badagry area of the State.
Also, the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD) said it would write the NCS Comptroller-General to ensure that there is proper investigation into the incident, which occurred on the premises of the Seme Area Command last Thursday, June 25.
Olomofe, who is the Director of Badagry-based Prime Magazine, was battered by the suspected smugglers, who claimed that he wrote against their activities in the area.
The Lagos NUJ Chairman, Deji Elumoye, said in a statement that the NCS authorities would be joined in the suit which the union was planning to file.
He said, “Harassing and assaulting journalists are becoming rampant among government agencies. We want to pursue this case in a law court, so that it would serve as a deterrent to others.
“The Comptroller-General of Customs and the Seme Area Commander will be served our papers by Friday.
“If a government agency has no skeletons in its cupboard, a journalist should not be prevented from doing his job. So, we want the law to take its course. Our colleague, Olomofe, is still being treated in the hospital, and a lot of money is being spent on the treatment.
“We have also petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to conduct an investigation into the matter. This is because after the assault, Olomofe went to the Area K Command to report the matter, but the policemen said he should go back to Seme where he was beaten up to make a report. The bottom line is that we are going to court.”
The Lagos OPD Director, Mrs. OmotolaRotimi, said the NCS investigations should be thoroughly carried out to produce the suspects, who she said would be charged to court for criminal assault.
“We are going to write the NCS Comptroller General to ensure that an investigation into the incident is carried out, and the suspects produced for prosecution. We understand that Customs are already investigating the matter.
“We would have held Customs responsible for a breach of fundamental human rights if their officers were directly involved in the attack. What we ask for is that the NCS should ensure a quick arrest of those mentioned, and we will charge the individuals for criminal assault. This may attract 15 years imprisonment,” she said.
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