Socrates Mbamalu, a journalist with Foundation for Investigative Journalism and Social Justice (FIJ), was harassed on Friday morning at Anthony, Ikorodu Road, by Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) officers after filming them for illegally detaining a public bus driver.
His phone and identity card have also been seized.
While on a field assignment, Mbamalu said he suspected that the LASTMA officers were trying to extort the driver, prompting his decision to stop over to report the incident.
“One of the LASTMA officers spotted me at a corner filming as they dragged the driver beside a private residence at Anthony road linking to Oshodi,” he said.
“What I saw was close to torture and a clear human rights violation. No one would have known what the driver was experiencing if I had not stopped.”
Mbamalu says he can recognise the LASTMA officers, numbering about six in number, adding: “One of them, apparently a frequently-praying Muslim, has a markedly black spot on his forehead.”
Mbamalu added that if he had not quietly left the scene, his experience may have degenerated to the type that led to the death of Pelumi Onifade who was shot to death in October 2020 by the Lagos Task Force while covering a crisis between hoodlums and the police officers.
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