Two Nigerian journalists who were covering the just concluded 2013 Africa Cup of Nations were kicked, dragged on the ground, threatened with cocked guns and forcibly detained for two hours by officers of the South African police in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon.
Debo Oshudun, Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) for
Central and Southern Africa and John Joshua Akanji, a Deputy Editor of
The Sun Newspapers were on board a taxi on their way to cover the
departure of the Super Eagles when shortly after they both
alighted, they were surrounded by no less than 20 fully armed South
African police officers who threatened to shoot them after they insisted
they were Journalists.
The duo, who narrated their story to SportingLife, were grateful to God for sparing their lives.
“I thank God we are still alive because we could have been shot,
knowing the type of (extra-) judicial killings in South Africa. I have
never been in that situation in my life. I was dragged on the floor,
kicked and brutalised. I and John Joshua-Akanji were disposed of our
phones, my keys and we couldn’t contact anybody.
We were detained for
two hours and I was really traumatised throughout the time the police
dealt with us and still imagining it up till now.
“The police claimed that they stopped our car because the taxi we
were in had a number plate with two different characters. Immediately
they stopped us they removed the number plate. They lied that they had
been trailing us,” Oshundun told SportingLife in Johannesburg on Tuesday
Joshua-Akanji had to miss his South African Airways flight due to the torture he received from the South African Police.
The Sun Newspaper Deputy Editor also narrated his ordeal to SportingLife in Johannesburg yesterday.
“I was in a trance. I thought I was acting out a movie. I never
thought it was for real. I have never seen a thing like this in all my
life. But I am happy to be alive to tell the story”, the visibly shaken
journalist disclosed. 20 policemen, who had already cocked their guns
and pointed them to my head and my colleague Oshundun’s, were shouting
‘I will shoot you, I will shoot you. Who are you? Do you think you are
special? I will blast your brains off’”, Joshua-Akanji revealed.
The two journalists however commended the South African taxi driver, named Hope,for daring his country’s police by rising to the defence of the
Nigerians. “These men are responsible journalists that have come here to
cover the AFCON. They are like brothers to me. I ate and dinned with
them. They have been wonderful to me as a South African. Why are you
treating them this way? It’s not fair! it’s not fair!”, Hope is said to
have cried out while the policemen were brutalising the journalist.
It took the intervention of the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg to
secure the release of both men. There are no indications yet, if the
Journalists will press charges against the South African Police.
Lieutenant Colonel M. F. Tshabalala station commander, Sandringham
Command South African Police Service, SAPS, later apologised for the
treatment meted out on the Nigerian Journalists.
This is very bad. For goodness sake, Nigeria are responsible for the emancipation of South Africa. South Africa practically got the greatest support from Nigeria in the days of aparthied. But they keep mis treating Nigerians. They kill Nigerians at will and very recently they had a big diplomatic row with Nigeria on issues of deporting Nigerians for no just and good reason.
It was so obvious that the journalists were maliciously targeted by the police officers as they didn't do anything to the taxi driver.
This is wrong and it should be frowned at. The appropriate authorities should do something concerning this and i hope the journalists will press charges against the South African Police. Measures should be taken so that such incident won't repeat itself again.