Clement Adeyi, Osogbo
There was tension in Ilesa, Osun State, yesterday when aggrieved youths staged a street protest against disconnection of electricity by the management of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC).
Daily Sun gathered that at least four journalists were attacked by suspected hoodlums during the protest organised by some irate youths in the area.
At the time of filing this report, the affected journalists were on admission at the Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo.
It was reported that some youths of Olomilagbara and Bolorunduro communities, in Obokun Local Government Area, attacked the Ilesa business hub of IBEDC on Thursday and beat up the staff of the company.
Consequently, the IBEDC management disconnected electricity and threw the entire Ijesaland into darkness.
In reprisal, the aggrieved youths began a protest across the nooks and crannies of the community on Sunday.
When they resumed the protest yesterday, they barricaded the major roads in Ilesa and prevented vehicular movement.
In the process, they transferred their aggression to journalists who were at the scene covering the protest.
They were armed with weapons such as cudgels and cutlasses with which they destroyed journalists’ cameras, phones, vehicles and other property.
Among the journalists were Rafiu Muhammad of TVC and his cameraman, Taiwo Adu, as well as Channels TV’s reporter, Shittu AbdulFatai, and his cameraman, Rabiu Qaudri.
The protesters also reportedly vandalised a car belonging to the general manager of Unique FM, Ilesa.
The management of the organisation ordered the station to be shut down for three hours until the police and other security agencies restored normalcy.
Meanwhile, the Osun State High Court has directed IBEDC to restore electricity to the area pending the determination of the motion on notice to be filed by the plaintiffs.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Osun State Council, has condemned the attack on the newsmen, describing it as “uncivilised and barbaric.”
The union, through a statement signed by the chairman of the chapter, Kehinde Ayantunji, said the NUJ would do everything to ensure that the culprits face the wrath of the law.
“We are shocked and seriously disturbed by the ruthless attack on four of our members today in Ilesa. We consider such attack as bestial, barbaric and uncivilised, and a declaration of war against journalists who were performing their constitutional responsibility,” Ayatunji said.
“It is indeed regrettable that those who were striving hard to ensure that the legitimate grievance of the people were brought to the attention of concerned authorities suddenly became subjects of attack.
“We are calling on security agencies to swing into action and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book without delay.”
Also, the Osun State House of Assembly has directed the House Committee on Public Petition to meet with the management of the IBEDC and representatives of affected areas in Ijesaland to resolve the crisis.
The Speaker of the House, Dr. Najeem Salaam, gave the directive after the member representing Ilesa West, Mr. Tajudeen Famuyide, raised the issue under Matters of Public Importance.