A reporter with The Nation Newspapers, Medinat Kanabe, was on Wednesday arrested, detained and manhandled by police posted to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). The policemen were aided by the hospital’s security men.
According to them, the reporter was arrested because she didn’t take “proper permission” before entering the hospital premises.
Narrating her ordeal after her release, Kanabe said, “I went there to meet with some LUTH pensioners who hold their meetings in the hospital every month. It was an opportunity to meet with and interact with them on their challenges especially as these crops of pensioners have many things in common.
“I was discussing with them when one Akin Victor also known as Supo barged into the venue and demanded to know what was happening there. He was with the Chief Security Officer, a male and one female police officer called Faith and also known as Mama Precious.”
She said Victor looked at her angrily and demanded to see the content of her bag but as she started to bring the items out he ordered Faith to take possession of the bag and search it.
The reporter added: “I explained to him that I was already bringing out the items but he got angry, walked up to me, grabbed my hands and pulled me out of the venue. He then pushed me until I got to where their vehicle was parked and ordered Faith to see that I entered the vehicle.
“I didn’t say anything, I didn’t even tell them that I am a journalist; I just wanted to see how they would handle the situation.”
Kanabe said when they got to security/police office in the hospital premises; Faith told her to write a statement and said she (the police officer) would tell her what to write but the reporter refused.
“Faith kept pestering me to write the statement and she was doing it in a very calm manner; she expected that to convince me to write what she wanted me to write but I insisted I was not writing anything so she called Victor and told him that I refused to write anything.
“She then started to ask me questions like, how I got into LUTH, what I came to do, how I am related to the pensioners, but I kept telling them that I am just a trader.”
Faith then told the reporter to bring out everything in her bag which she did except for her ID card; when Victor came again he said she should empty her bag again which she did again but this time they saw her ID card.
“When they saw my ID card, Victor got angry again held my hand, squeezed it, collected my phone and demanded that I write a statement but I refused saying I will not write anything until I got permission from my office since they are aware that I was in LUTH.
“He then said Faith, and another official- Fatima should make sure I don’t speak with anyone, not even the people in the office until I write a statement and he continued threatening to beat me up if I say anything to anyone. He said he would shut my mouth for me. He and Faith called me suspect, accused, and even added that I was planning with the pensioners to bomb the hospital. At a point they said I was planning with the pensioners to carry placards against the management of the hospital.
“I was at their office from 11.15 a.m. until 3.05 p.m. when the PRO came to release me from there. He said they were doing their job and that it was the practice in all federal hospitals.”