Koffi Bartels: NUJ CONDEMNS SARS BRUTALITY
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, has described the torture of a broadcaster with a Port Harcourt based radio station, the Nigeria Info, Mr. Koffi Bartels, by the Police as barbaric and an act of cowardice.
The NUJ, in a statement signed by its Secretary, Ike Wigodo, on Thursday, condemned in strong term the inhuman treatment meted out to Mr. Bartels, while trying to save the life of a boy in his area on Tuesday.
According to the statement, Mr. Bartels was held and beaten to stupor by the security agents while trying to capture a brutal scene in which a poor boy in his area was being beaten by men of the FSARS.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of FSARS officials, Mr. Bartels said, " I was given the beating of my life right on the road. They started by smashing my knees repeatedly with wooden bars. As I type this (complaint), my left knee is swollen and my right knee seriously bruised. I have pains on my head, neck and back".
The radio broadcaster, in his official complaint to the Union, also said he was handcuffed like a common criminal and taken to the FSARS headquarters where he was given more torture and was even threatened to be wasted if he and his radio station did not desist from criticising the activities of FSARS in Rivers State.
The NUJ regretted that a security agency paid to protect lives and property could turn itself into a monster terrorising innocent citizens in the country.
The NUJ, therefore, demanded an unreserved apology from the Rivers State Police Command within 14 days for the assault against Mr. Bartels or risk its activities boycotted by journalists in the State.
The Council also demanded that all the FSARS officials involved in the brutal act be brought to book, while the agency be made to foot the hospital bill of Mr. Bartels who is currently receiving treatment in an hospital due to injuries he sustained during the attack.
The statement further warned that any further assault on journalists in the State would be vehemently resisted by the NUJ.
"NUJ as a watchdog of the society will not fold its arms and watch any arm of security agencies in the State descend to barbarism and brutalisation of innocent citizens, let alone media practitioners. Enough is enough", the statement warned.
Secretary, Rivers NUJ