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Nigeria22 September 2005

Prison staff beat up two journalists covering trial, stop others covering riot

Reporters Without Borders today condemned obstruction and violence by employees of the Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) towards journalists trying to cover a trial and a prison riot in separate incidents in the past two days.

“It is disturbing to see the press being prevented from doing its work,” the press freedom organisation said.

Sakiry Adeoye of the Ibadan-based Nigeria Tribune daily and Dare Fasube of the Vanguard were trying to photograph five students accused of murder as they arrived in court yesterday in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, when they were attacked and beaten by members of the defendants’ NPS escort.

The two journalists were detained, and were only released several hours later following intervention by Wale Ojo Lanre, the head of the local branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists. Adeoye was seriously injured and was taken to a hospital in Lagos.

Several journalists who were trying to cover a riot by inmates at Ikoyi prison in Lagos on 20 September were threatened by guards and thrown out of the prison.

In an earlier incident on 22 August, officials denied journalists access to meetings in an investigation into a surge of breakouts from prisons in Port Harcourt and Ogwusi-Uku.

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