5 July 2013

Nigerian Journalist Flogged in Front of Government House

On 3 July 2013, a police officer manning the gate of the government house in Makurdi, Benue State, North-Central Nigeria, publicly flogged Mr. Chris Atsaka - the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Benue State Council - with a horsewhip.

Atsaka said he was at the government house on invitation from the chief of staff to Governor Gabriel Suswam, to deliver a letter to him about the planned NUJ Press Week.

Narrating his ordeal, Atsaka said: "On getting to the gate, I told the SSS officer identified as Manasseh that I was there on appointment to deliver a letter to the chief of staff to the governor, who had earlier called me. Manasseh told me that I couldn't see him."

"Then I called the chief of staff, he told me that he was not in the office, but would send someone to meet me at the gate and collect the letter."

He said when he made his way to the press centre to wait, Manasseh ordered the police officer to beat him up.

A policeman named Gbenga then started to flog Atsaka with a horsewhip right from the entrance of the government house to the press centre, in the full glare of staff of the special duties. Gbenga was later joined by Manasseh himself, who repeatedly hit him with the butt of his gun.

The security men reportedly dragged Atsaka out of the press centre and tried to force him into a truck, until the special adviser to the governor on media and public affairs, Mr. Cletus Akwaya, and Jacob Ayati, another official working in the government house, intervened and took him in a car to the office of the governor's chief of staff.

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