Mr. Alambo Datonye, Principal Editor, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and Chairman, Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria, Bayelsa State, has been reportedly brutalised by a suspected operative of the Department of State Services.
Datonye, who is also the Bayelsa State correspondent of the FRCN, escaped death by a whisker, as the unidentified DSS officer reportedly punched him on the right eye and threatened to kill him.
The journalist, who had been vomiting since the incident on Saturday, was said to have been brutalised while covering the opening ceremony of construction work on a private refinery, Azikel Refinery, performed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo at Obunagha, in Gbarain Kingdom, in the Yenagoa Local Government Area.
In a petition sent to the Director, DSS, Bayelsa State Command, Datonye demanded justice for the brutality meted out to him in the course of performing his duties as a journalist.
The petition, which was made available to our correspondent, was also copied to the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Bayelsa State Council; the Civil Liberties Organisation, Bayelsa State chapter; the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights; and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.
Narrating his ordeal, the broadcast journalist said he had gone to the venue of the ceremony alongside with other journalists when he was denied access into the venue.
Datonye said when he approached the security personnel manning the gate, the DSS operative pounced on him despite the accreditation tag on him as a journalist.
He said, “On arrival at the gate, we met some uniformed security personnel. Despite putting on our accreditation tags and identity cards, we were badly treated by the security operatives, who refused to grant us access into the venue.
“I had gone to politely explain to one of the operatives that the journalists were duly accredited to cover the event and should be given access to perform their duties when one of the two DSS officers at the gate pushed me. One of them then ferociously punched my right eye.
“The petit officer wore a black outfit with a cardigan, so it was difficult for me to get his identity; he wielded a gun used by the DSS.
“After assaulting me, he went further to cock his gun and threatened to kill me, screaming that he was a devil and could shoot me without any consequence. I have this on my audio recorder as evidence.
“This incident happened at about half past 11am in the full glare of other security personnel, journalists, guests and other spectators.”
He said since the attack, he had been ill, adding that he could not see clearly with the injured eye. Datonye noted that the situation was affecting the performance of his duty.
“I demand an unreserved apology from the DSS official for harassing me, a law abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who in the course of my existence for about 39 years have never had a breach of the law of the land,” he added.
The state Chairman, NUJ, Mr. John Angesse, condemned the attack, describing it as “barbaric, cruel, unfortunate and unthinkable.”
He urged the relevant authorities to investigate, arrest and prosecute the security official behind the brutality.