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Assault on AIT reporter: Bauchi CP disbands RRS after NUJ boycott

By Armstrong Bakam

The Commissioner of Police, Bauchi State, Sylvester Alabi, has ordered the immediate disbandment of the Command’s Rapid Response Squad.

His action followed the boycott of coverage of Police activities in Bauchi State by the Nigeria Union of Journalists in the state.

The PUNCH had reported that NUJ, on Friday, ordered the immediate boycott of all activities of the Police in the state following an attack on one of its members, Damina Yusuf, a reporter with the Africa Independent Television by men of the Rapid Response Squad which resulted in him sustaining some injuries.

The statement, which was jointly signed by the NUJ Chairman and Secretary, Umar Sa’idu and Isah Gadau, respectively, condemned the incident and noted with dismay, “the uncivilised manner of the Nigeria Police in adopting brutality as part of its tradition especially against Journalists,” adding that it was dissatisfied with the way and manner the Police “brutalised, molested and harassed” its member.

“Based on this barbaric act of the police, the union has directed its members to suspend with immediate effect, coverage of all activities of the police in the state until the perpetrators of the act are fished out and prosecuted in addition to the proper payment of compensation and settlement of medical bills of the victim,” the NUJ declared.

The Union insisted that the perpetrators of the dastardly act on the journalists must be punished before coverage of Police activities in the state will be restored.

The RRS operatives who assaulted Damina who was covering a protest by students of the College of Agriculture, Yelwa, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis, seized his camera, laptop computer, microphone with AIT logo, mobile phones, modem and wallet containing substantial amount of money among other belongings.

The Police Commissioner who swiftly reacted to the NUJ’s directive in a terse statement through the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Ahmed Wakil, directed that the RRS be immediately disbanded.

He said that he has set up a three-man committee to investigate the conduct of the erring Police officers.

Wakil, a Superintendent of Police said: “The command has totally condemned the unprofessional conduct of the RRS on this (assault on AIT Reporter).

“The CP order for full payment of the medical bills of Damina as well as payment of all that was lost during the protest.

“He has set up a three man committee to investigate the erring Police officers, he equally order for disbandment of the present squad.

“He said that fresh officers with good track record will replace them.”

He assured that “the command is ever ready to engage the NUJ to shed their sword as protest is not a solution to the present situation.”

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