This statement was originally published on imesoimeso.org on September 5, 2017.
A Benin-based freelance photo journalists, Mr. Lucky Agie, was on Monday night attacked by suspected armed robbers, on his way home from work.
According to ‘The News’ which broke the story on Tuesday September 5, 2017, Mr Agie was attacked when he boarded a taxi along Akpakpava Road in Benin City, the Edo State capital, and was beaten and thrown out of the vehicle into a valley, after being dispossessed of his belongings including his camera worth over N400,000, ATM card, identity cards and cash.
He was however rescued by a good Nigerian and taken to a private hospital, where he is currently recuperating.
Agie who recently retired from Edo State-owned Nigerian Observer newspaper, is reeling in pains on his hospital bed and is heavily bandaged on his right eye and stitched head with a swollen face.
He narated his ordeal to journalists at the private hospital: “I watched the first half of the Cameroun-Nigeria football match at the NUJ Press Centre and wanted to go home. I tried to start my car, but it could not, even after colleagues helped me to push.
“I now decided to go by public transport and I was dropped off at Akpakpava where I entered a taxi [can], an Audi 80 painted in the State colours. Some passengers were inside, including a lady and that gave me the courage to enter because I am always wary, not knowing that the lady was part of the gang.
“I told him I was going to Ewa Road junction. I immediately paid the driver when I entered and he said he doesn’t have change. One of the passengers behind gave him N100 and he added N50 which he gave to me as my change.
“Just by Second Junction, near Total Filling Station, one of the passengers alighted and another entered who now sat with me in the front seat and immediately the driver drove off, they started beating me and hitting me with objects that injured my head and my eyes. They even tried to strangulate me with my shirt which they tore.
“They took my D-90 camera, my atm card, my NUJ ID card, my official ID card and everything I had on me. They asked my atm pin which I gave them but they continued beating me and said they were going to throw me into the Ikpobha River.
“They continued beating me and I was losing strength and blood until they got to Ikkpobha Hill after the bridge, where I was pushed into the valley and continued beating me and then left me almost unconscious as I faintly heard one of them saying let’s finish him.
“After they drove off, I was able to struggle out of the valley and tried to waive passersby until a good Nigerian came and took me in his taxi to this hospital.
“I was only able to remember my elder brother’s number who is based in Abuja. I called him and he reached my people in Benin who came to me,” Agie narrated. He added that he has instructed his younger brother to report the case to the police station.
The alarming level of insecurity in Edo State has continued to create worries for the people of the State.
The Chairman of Edo State Council of NUJ, Sir Roland Osakue, who led members of the Council to visit their colleague at the hospital, called on security agencies to check the spate of robberies and killings in the State, adding that attacks on journalists is becoming alarming.
It would be recalled that just few weeks ago, a journalist with NTA in Benin, Lawrence Okojie, was shot dead by gunmen, few metres from his house, after close of work.
Also, many journalists have been robbed and some escaped by the whiskers, in various parts of the State capital, like Ekenwan Road, Airport Road, Oluku and others areas.