Nigeria: Journalist Severely Beaten After Photographing Hospital Staff

PRESS RELEASE
On Thursday, 9 August 2012, a
photojournalist with the independent
daily, “Leadership”, Mr. Benedict
Uwalaka, was attacked and brutalised
on the premises of the Lagos State
University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH)
by persons believed to be mortuary
attendants.

The photojournalist is currently in
intensive care at the hospital where he
was taken by his colleagues, after he
was bleeding profusely following the
beating.
Mr. Uwalaka narrated his experience
as follows: “I came to LASUTH in the
morning to cover the release of the
corpses of victims of the DANA Air
crash. Some vehicles [had been]
deliberately used to block the
entrance to the mortuary to prevent
access.
“From a distance, I took pictures of
the vehicles. Suddenly I heard a voice
behind me saying, ‘Show me your
camera! Show me your camera! What
pictures are you taking?’. Suddenly,
somebody came from behind and
snatched the camera from me.”
He said the attackers, numbering
about four, began to beat him
mercilessly, hitting him with their fists,
sticks, bottles and other weapons,
resulting in serious bodily injuries,
especially to his face.
Another journalist, Mr. Kola Olasupo,
who was present at the scene and
witnessed the assault, says that what
he saw was a gory sight.
According to Mr. Olasupo, “I was
walking in front of Uwalaka; both of us
were moving towards the pathology
side of the mortuary, when, suddenly,
I heard a loud sound twice and
quickly turned to see two men using
sticks to hit my friend, Uwalaka. As I
tried to ask them what the trouble
was, two other men rushed out from
the door and slapped him and hit his
eyes. I called on my other colleagues
to assist when another one came out
again with an electric-prodding
device.”
Mr. Olasupo said it was the last man
who inflicted the most serious injuries
to his face, causing severe damage to
his left eye, while the other two hit
him with broken bottles at the back of
the head, inflicting further injury.
“At that point, he slumped on the
floor, lying in a pool of his blood
before he was rushed to the Area F
police station a few blocks away from
the hospital.”
According to Mr. Olasupo, the police
took a statement from Mr. Uwalaka
before he was advised to get medical
treatment and he was rushed to the
emergency unit where is currently
recovering.
Mr Uwalaka also lost some of his
personal belongings to his attackers,
who took his phone and his PENTAX
30mm zoom lens camera.

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