A reporter with PUNCH Newspapers in Ogun State, Daud Olatunji, and two other journalists were on Tuesday harassed and beaten by overzealous union members enforcing the strike order in the state.
The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress in the state had declared an indefinite strike on Monday to press home their demands for payment of their contributory pensions and other allowances.
The journalists, who were monitoring compliance and the situation of the strike across establishments, met resistance from the union members at the Ogun State General Hospital, Ijaiye, Abeokuta.
The members, armed with canes, were sighted at the entrance of the state hospital forcing any worker that resumed work contrary to the strike order to return home.
On getting to the hospital, Olatunji; the PM /The News reporter, Adejoke Adeleye; and the Platform Times reporter, Tutu Sobowale, were accosted at the gate.
Apparently angry with the situation, the union members mobbed Olatunji and rained blows and slaps on him, insisting he should leave the premises.
Efforts to explain that he was doing his job were rebuffed, as the semi-literate union members pounced on the reporter.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the union members, Olatunji said, “We were going round the state capital to get updates on the strike, which was declared on Monday.
“I was just shocked at the aggression of the people at the state hospital. Despite showing them my ID card, the union members harassed me. Before I knew what was going on, I started receiving blows and slaps. They were saying I was wicked and came for work when others stayed away.”
The two female journalists, Adeleye and Sobowale, who arrived at the scene earlier, were not spared.
Both journalists were harassed for hours until the hospital management pleaded on their behalf.
Sobowale said, “I didn’t even enter the hospital. I was still on the other side of the road when four men came with canes and dragged me to the hospital premises.
“They were asking who gave me permission to take pictures. My phone was seized. I was detained and queried for hours.”