12 February 2013

Nigeria: South African Police Harass, Threaten Nigerian Journalists

Two Nigerian journalists who covered the just concluded 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa on Tuesday harassed and threatened by the South African Police Service.

They are Mr Debo Oshundun, the Southern and Central Africa Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and Mr John-Joshua Akanji, Deputy Editor of The Sun newspapers.

They were arrested and brutalised by the police on their way to the airport to see off the victorious Super Eagles.

"We were in a taxi going to the airport to cover the departure of the Super Eagles when the police stopped us and asked us to drive into a shopping mall and forcibly dragged us out of the car.

"We were made to lie on the ground, thoroughly searched and threatened with guns by more than 15 policemen who said they would shoot at us.

"Despite introducing ourselves as journalists, they still dragged us on the floor before they bundled us into a bus and took us to the Sandringham Police Station in Johannesburg.

"They dispossessed us of our phones and other valuables.

"But on getting to the police station in Sandringham, the police officers claimed that the cab we were travelling in had two different registration numbers.

"But following our protestations that their action was unjust, our phones were handed over to us which enabled my colleague in NAN to call both the Nigerian Consul and the High Commissioner who eventually stepped in.

"We were eventually released following the arrival of Nigerian officials but I missed my flight back home," Akanji said.

He said in a bid to appease the journalists, the station commander of Sandringham police station, Lt.-Col. M. F. Thashabala, apologised for the unruly behaviour of the policemen.

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