By Florence Akintola
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Iyaganku Police Division, CSP Akintunde Oyeniran, on Sunday, September 19, assaulted the General Manager, Jamz 100.1FM, Ibadan, Mr Tony Awobode.
Awobode, popularly known as Don Tee, was harassed, assaulted and humiliated by the police personnel along Aleshinloye junction, Ibadan.
The incident, according to sources, happened when Awobode, who was riding his power bike, tried to cross the road, towards Aleshinloye axis.
He was stopped by the DPO, who accused him of hitting his car’s side mirror with his power bike.
According to sources, efforts by Awobode to prove that he didn’t make contact with the side mirror fell on deaf ears as the attempt attracted slaps and beatings from the police boss.
The DPO, who was not ready to listen to Awobode’s explanations, was said to have descended heavily on him.
Despite the beatings and assaults which resulted in serious physical injuries, swollen face, bruises for the media personality, as well as damages to his crash helmet, the DPO asked his officers to also deal with him, before taking him into custody.
In the process of forcefully taking and detaining him, Awobode’s mobile phone was seized, thus, denying him access to family members and relatives.The tyres of his power bike were also deflated.
Speaking on the incident, Awobode lamented that his fundamental human rights were violated, adding that the DPO’s vehicle had no scratch.
Narrating his ordeal to the Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council, Comrade Ademola Babalola, Awobode described the incident as a case of arbitrary use of naked power.
“On Sunday, between 8:30am and 9am, I was coming from Ring-Road axis, Liberty stadium to be precise, headed towards Eleyele on a power bike. But there was a heavy traffic at Kilometre 110, but I managed to get to the junction of Iyaganku. I was on the left side of the cars because I was going to take the left turn.
“In order to allow some of the bikes move, so I can also have a pass of way, I tilted the power bike’s steering wheel a bit. After the passage of two to three bikes, I tried to straighten the wheel back, and while trying to do that for balance, the clutch of the bike slightly tapped the side mirror of the car beside me, no damage done at all.
“Absolutely none. And in my exact words to apologise, ‘it wasn’t intentional.’ The man wound down and started raining insults with words like ‘mad’, ‘stupid’, ‘crazy’, ‘foolish’. I repeated, ‘it wasn’t intentional’. Before I knew it, he stretched his hand out of his car and held my jacket, while he continued the insults. I got pissed, so I used his exact words back on him. Then those in the car with him joined in the insults.
“He then told them to come down and hold me, and started shouting, ‘call the police!!! Let them arrest this man!’ He eventually managed to come down of the car, and this time grabbed my neck. I was shocked, really shocked, at how the whole situation had so fast degenerated to the point where he had to grab me by the neck.
“Keeping my cool, I told him he could call whosoever he wants to call, I wasn’t going anywhere, however leave my neck. I was already getting choked. While that was happening, I noticed one of the guys with him went to the power bike, and took my phone from the bike’s mount. So, it was dilemma. I told the guy to please return my phone, while I was telling the man to please leave my neck. And because he wasn’t going to let go of my neck, I told him I was going to count five. I did, he still didn’t let go. Suddenly, the next thing I had was a punch right across my face.
“That wouldn’t have been possible if I was shielded with my helmet, but it’s modular helmet. Just so he could hear me, I had lifted the front part leaving my face exposed. As if that wasn’t enough, he still yanked off the helmet, and ran multiple blows across my face. There is a video I made to this effect. I blanked out, and the bike fell, that again leaving me with injury on my leg, which I tried avoiding – the reason I held on to the handle bar since the whole drama started.
“Eventually, I was taken to Iyaganku Police Station with the bike, a stone-throw from the junction where the whole drama took place. It was there I got to know that he was a Divisional Police Officer, which even got me more perplexed,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NUJ, Oyo State council, has condemned in strong terms, the assault on Awobode by the DPO
The NUJ chairman,Babalola, who was surprised by the whole incident, called on the state’s Police Commissioner, CP Ngozi Onadeko, to institute a probe into the matter, with a view of getting justice for the assaulted journalist.