The Lagos State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has filed a N500 million naira damage against the Nigerian Customs Service for the brutal assault of a Lagos-based journalist, Yomi Olomofe.
Some customs-aided smugglers beat Mr. Olomofe, who is the chairman of the editorial board of Badagry Prime, a news magazine, into a comatose state, within the premises of the Customs Seme-Border Command in Badagry, on June 22, 2015. It was gathered that the Badagry based journalist was severely beaten by hoodlums believed to be working for the Nigerian Customs Service at Seme Border.
Mr. Olomofe’s counsel, Jiti Ogunye, a lawyer for NUJ, announced that the suit was before a Federal High Court in Lagos during a press conference at the Alausa Secretariat of NUJ. He said the brutal assault on Yomi Olomofe by unidentified persons within the premises of Nigerian Customs Service over six months was in clear violation of his fundamental human rights.
Mr. Ogunye noted that one of their demands from the court was for the court to issue an official denunciation of the treatment of Mr. Olomofe. He explained that medical reports indicated that the journalist, who is still recuperating, suffered severe injuries and psychological trauma after the incident.
The human rights lawyer said it was unfortunate that journalists that played a prominent role in the return of democracy to the country have continued to be battered by security agents and the powers that be. For his part, the National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Waheed Odusile, vowed that the group would not allow the matter to be swept under the carpet saying they will see it to its logical conclusion.
Mr. Odusile also noted that letters written to the police and the Nigerian Customs Service calling for a thorough investigation into the matters fell on deaf ears. He insisted that media practitioners should never be intimated in the course of their duty so long they are within the ethics of the profession.
Lagos State chairman of the NUJ, Deji Elumoye, urged media practitioners to fully support the quest for justice for Mr. Olomofe noting that an injury to one is injury to all.