Veteran journalist and photographer, Sunmi Smart-Cole, has narrated how he collapsed due to shoving and pushing by security operatives attached to President Muhammadu Buhari at the colloquium held to celebrate Senator Bola Tinubu’s birthday in Lagos last week.
Smart-Cole, who was the former head of photography in the presidency, is currently receiving treatment in a hospital in Ikoyi.
He threatened to sue the Department of State Services over his alleged maltreatment at the event.
Smart Cole, said former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha and the Governor of Sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal revived him after he collapsed due to the pushing by DSS operatives.
In his story, he said, “I was invited by the vice-president’s office. The vice-president told one of his assistants, Mrs. Uwais, the wife of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, to invite me to cover the event”, he told Thisday.
“When Buhari entered with about 50 security personnel, things changed. If you stood near them, they would give you elbow. At a time, I just told one of them, ‘I am an old man; I am actually 76 years old’.
“He said he didn’t care and directed another security official to make sure ‘this old man does not come near the president’. I had to take photographs from a distance.
“The security operatives around the president continued to push me until I became exhausted and I slumped because my legs became weak.
“I slumped right in front of Segun Osoba, Niyi Adebayo, the former Governor of Ekiti State; the Governor Tambuwal, and Governor Okorocha, who sat together, including the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki. They all saw me. I am the oldest working journalist in Nigeria.
“I slumped but I did not pass out. Prof. Pat Utomi and the Publisher of Ovation Magazine were detailed by Osoba to keep me seated, saying I get too excited when I carry a camera. He seized my camera.”
He is still not confirmed fit by the doctors so he will have to stay for more days in the hospital.