The Nasarawa State correspondent of Daily Trust, Hir Joseph, was attacked by armed thugs in the presence of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, just as the governor was taking the oath of office in Lafia Friday.
Mr. Joseph has written stories critical of the governor in the past, a reason his colleagues say he was targeted by the youth.
Mr. Joseph reportedly said in a recent report that Mr. Almakura should not be sworn into office.
Some of the thugs wore white T-Shirts with the inscription: TA’AL, the short for Tanko Al-Makura, a popular campaign slogan of the governor.
Two thugs marched to the reporter while he was standing with his colleagues by the platform where the governor was taking the oath.
“They ordered me to follow them. I politely asked if there was any problem. There was no answer from any of them. Instead, they pounced on me, and lifted me on their shoulders and made to take me away,” the reporter said afterwards.
The thugs dragged him metres away before officers and men of the police, and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), led by the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Umaru Ismaila stormed in on them, and tried to force the reporter from their grip.
Reporters, who were present at Lafia Square, venue of the inauguration, said the thugs grew in number, as they dragged their colleague, beating him in the process.
Witnesses said journalists who tried to take photographs of the attack on their colleagues were accosted by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Yakubu Lamai, who also questioned some security operatives, who took photographs of the attack with their phones.
“Instead of trying to help the reporter, who was crying for help, the governor’s CPS was trying to block us from taking photo shots. He even attempted snapping our phones and cameras from our hands,” a colleague of Hir said.
Mr. Lamai denied the allegation. He told PREMIUM TIMES he was unaware of the attack.
Some reporters were ordered to leave the venue of the inauguration immediately.
Mr. Joseph was later taken to a nearby hospital by personnel of the Red Cross.
The incident happened at about 11:28a.m