By Sodiq Yusuf
Operatives of COVID-19 Taskforce setup by the State Government of Osun to enforce the usage of face-mask by the people of the state allegedly brutalised a journalist working with DAILY POST newspaper, Mr Sikiru Obarayese who was covering the process on Monday.
Obarayese was allegedly beaten at the popular Old Garage area of Osogbo, capital of the state alongside a middle-aged woman and other members of the public.
According to Obarayese who sustained serious injuries on his left elbow and right leg, the operatives were allegedly ordered to beat him by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adebayo Adeleke when he was taking reports of the harassment of some members of the public by the security agents.
The reporter in his account told OSUNDEFENDER that several residents of the state were harassed by the security officers who were hitherto mandated to mete out fines to erring members of the public.
“I was taking pictures with my phone when they were harassing those who didn’t use a face mask. A woman was reporting that they had beat her and I was recording the woman.”
“The Joint Task Force led by Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Adebayo Adeleke approached me, asked why I am taking pictures. I told them this a public place and also informed them that I am a journalist.
“In the cause of bringing out my ID from my pocket, a policeman attached to the JTF said “you are mad, where is your ID card” and wanted to snatch my phone.”
“Four policemen attacked me and started slapping and hit me with a baton in my joints hands and leg. I fell and they were matching me. To my surprise, I heard the Commissioner for Local Government and chieftaincy ordering them to beat me and take me along with those they had arrested.”
“I was later released when some journalists at the venue approached them.”
Obarayese has been treated at the State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Adebayo Adeleke when contacted by OSUN DEFENDER said he was not aware that any journalist was beaten.
He said all the taskforce was doing was to ensure that all residents of the state used face mask in the public.
”I am not aware that any journalist was beaten. It is a calculated attempt to spoil the whole show,” Adeleke told OSUN DEFENDER.