A social media critic, Austin Usman Okai, has condemned the beating to pulp of Mr. Segun Salami, a Channels Television reporter, by some security agents attached to Kogi State, at Government House, Lokoja.
Salami, after the beating was also dragged on the ground and locked up in a detaining cell inside the Government House.
Salami, who was later rushed to a hospital by his colleague after he was released, sustained injuries on his face.
Salami’s trouble started yesterday when one of the security personnel posted to Government House accused him of pointing at him while speaking to his female colleague.
However, the female colleague from AIT and Salami both pleaded with the personnel, telling him no one made any reference to him.
The security personnel from the Mobile Police department refused to listen, and along with other security agents, descended heavily on him.
As if it was not enough, some members of the correspondent chapel who went to the Government House yesterday to inquire from the governor’s orderly were turned back at the gate, with a warning to leave quickly unless they want to receive ‘Their colleague’s (Salami) treatment’.
In his reaction, Okai in a statement described the actions of the security personnel as embarrassing to the government and people of Kogi State.
He cautioned that further onslaught on members of the press could be viewed as an attempt to silence the opposition voices and foster a slide into dictatorship in the state.
Okai said: “It is condemnable to clamp down on perceived political opponents and critics of the present administration in the state.
“The recurrent verbal and physical onslaught on members of the fourth estate of the realm by those close to government in the state has taken an embarrassing dimension which can be also viewed as an attempt to lead the state into autocracy.
“The beating-up of a Channels Television reporter who has committed no offence by security personnel sent to protect Governor Yahaya Bello is demonstration of a high degree of impunity and a negation of a sane compliance with democratic practice and principles.
“It is in its totality and aberration of best security practices.”
Reacting to the attack, the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, CP Wilson Inalegwu said he had been informed and was still investigating the matter.
“We take the conduct of our personnel seriously and you can rest assured that no sinner will go unpunished,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vanguard newspaper reported that the governor of the State, Yahaya Bello had also put a call to the now faint looking Salami apologising for the misconduct of the police personnel.