A photojournalist was on Thursday subjected to brutal assault that left him with serious physical injury by the staff of the
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital morgue.
The journalist, Benedict Uwalaka of Leadership newspapers, had come to the morgue to cover the event of the release of the bodies of the people who died in the Dana Air disaster in June.
Mr. Uwalaka said he moved closer for a better camera shot of a vehicle used to remove the body of a victim from the morgue when the staff at the morgue attacked him and inflicted grievous bodily harm on him, accusing him of trying to photograph bodies.
“What happened is that as a photo journalist, I needed to get a close up photograph of my objective, and when I noticed that a vehicle had been parked across the entrance of the mortuary, I moved closer to get a close-up shot of the vehicle. That was all.
“Before I knew what happened, someone seized my camera, another grabbed my phone as the others charged at me, raining blows all over my body. I was hit in the face by a bottle and ended up with cuts and bruises to my left eye, head and left leg. I was covered with my own blood.”
According to Uwalaka, the incident has been reported to the police who promised to investigate the incident. He has since sought treatment for his injuries at the emergency ward of the hospital.
The Lagos State commissioner for information responded to the incident on Thursday, taking responsibility for the incident and apologizing for the entire fracas, which ended up derailing and delaying the release of the bodies to their families.
Only a few of the 20 bodies slated for collection by the victims of the relatives were released on Tuesday because the relatives showed up late, which further complicated a process where stated procedures were not followed.