There was pandemonium at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Television College (TV COLLEGE) in Jos, Plateau State last week as some of the students escaped being shot by the police.
According to The Nation, the students were on field practice when they ran into a group of youths protesting the killing of Saf Ron Kulere of Bokkos, Da Lazarus Agai, by unknown gunmen. The Bokkos youths peacefully marched on the Government House, but they were dispersed by a joint team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and mobile policemen.
The Police ran after the students after they saw them taking shots of the protesting youth with their digital camera.
Sensing trouble, the students ran back to their campus, but the security men chased them, firing gunshots and teargas canisters.
At the college main gate, some of the students were apprehended, maltreated and harassed by the rampaging officers. Some had their digital cameras seized; others were whisked away. When other students got wind of the development, they mobilised to rescue their colleagues from the officers. This, however, led to a confrontation. The officers threatened to shoot any student who stood in their way as they attempted to seize more cameras.
While reacting to the police brutality, a student who mentioned his name as Uren said; “It is against the law to use force and lethal weapon against peaceful protests. That should be the last resort when protests become violent. But, the Bokos youths’ protest was obviously peaceful. There was nothing that would have warranted the officers to fire gunshots. We tried to get pictures of how the youth were being maltreated by the officers, but we ended up being brutalised and chased like wild animals. This is lawlessness.”
Another student, Masara Usman, a 300-Level student, who was manhandled and had his digital camera seized by the officers, relived his encounter. “While taking photographs from a corner, an officer in mufti came and hit me on the face. I fell down. The officer picked up my camera and attempted to smash it. Some female students rushed and prevented the camera from hitting the ground.
“I was brutalised. But the camera was released after the intervention of the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Plateau State and the school management. When I got it, vital photographs had been deleted and the camera lens-cap holder was broken,” he said.
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