Some policemen attached to the Osun State Joint Task Force to enforce the compulsory use of face mask in the state, Monday brutalized one of DAILY POST’s correspondents in the state, Sikiru Obarayese, while covering the process.
Obarayese was beaten at the popular Old Garage area of Osogbo, the state capital, alongside an aged woman and other members of the public.
According to Obarayese who sustained open injuries on his left elbow and right ankle, the operatives beat the journalist on his duty in the presence of the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adebayo Adeleke.
It was gathered that a policeman attached to the JTF approached the reporter, and asked him to stop taking pictures when the task force was harassing some of the members of the public and beating people with baton.
Several other residents of the state were also harassed by the security officers who were hitherto mandated to enforce compliance.
Obarayese in his account said, “I was taking pictures with my phone when the operatives were harassing those who didn’t use a face mask. A woman was reporting that they had beaten her, and I was recording the woman.
“The Joint Task Force led by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adebayo Adeleke approached me, asked why I was taking pictures. I told them it was a public place and I also informed them that I was a journalist.
“In the cause of bringing out my ID from my pocket, a policeman attached to the JTF said, ‘you are mad, where is your ID card’ and wanted to snatch my phone.”
“Four policemen attacked me and started slapping and hitting me with a baton in my joint,s hands and legs with the aim of destroying the phone. I fell and they were matching me. To my surprise, I heard the Commissioner for Local Government and chieftaincy ordering them to beat me and take me along with those they had arrested.”
“I was later released when some journalists at the venue approached them.”
But when DAILY POST reached the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs on the phone, he denied knowledge of the attack on Obarayese, saying ”it is completely untrue.” He said, ” With due respect, that information by your reporter is completely untrue. We had other reporters there. Nobody was beaten to the best of my knowledge. We were there to enforce the use of face mask and if you were on your face mask, you would not be harassed by anybody.”
Obarayese was treated at the State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo.