Armed thugs suspected to have been hired by a faction of the Trade Union Congress in Osun State, on Tuesday in Osogbo, attacked journalists who were covering a protest staged by Osun State workers at the State secretariat.
They reportedly beat up Oloyede Oyegbenle, a cameraman of Channels Television, before seizing his camera. The thugs who were brought in a TUC branded bus by some workers to the main gate of the Osun State Secretariat. The hoodlums, on sighting the policemen deployed in the place, had hesitated before unleashing attack on the journalists when they observed that the policemen did not stop them.
The thugs threw bottles, pegs, and other dangerous weapons at journalists and other persons around who ran helter-skelter for safety. About eight of the hoodlums pounced on the Channels cameraman and started beating him with pestles and clubs before they succeeded in taking away his camera forcefully.
Oyegbenle, who was dragged away from the scene by his colleagues, was treated briefly by an Osun State Ambulance. He was later taken to a hospital where he was treated.
Surprisingly, the armed policemen, who were at the scene before the arrival of the hoodlums, failed to rescue the journalists when they were being beaten. The faction of the TUC, led by one Francis Adetunji, and workers loyal to him, were said to have come to enforce a three-day warning strike the union had called.
The Adetunji-led faction of the TUC had wanted the proposed strike to commence on Tuesday but the Akinyemi Olatunji, chairman of TUC, in the state is opposed to the planned strike.
However, efforts by journalists to incident the case at the Ataoja Estate Police Station and the police station inside the state secretariat, were unsuccessful. The Divisional Police Officer of the Ataoja Police Station told the journalists that the case did not happen under his jurisdiction and directed them to go to the station inside the secretariat. Policemen at the secretariat police station also directed the journalists back to Ataoja Police Station to incident the case.