The Nigerian ambassador to Mexico, Adejare Bello, on Friday, assaulted a journalist in Osun State.
Mr Adejare, a former speaker of the state assembly unleashed an attack on Adeniyi Akinromade, a journalist working with Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, while the latter was rendering a social service during traffic gridlock.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the gridlock was at the Oke-Fia axis of the state around 11:00 a.m. and the journalist decided to help control the movement of vehicles to ensure easy accessibility on the routes.
Mr Bello and the security personnel attached to him were on the route and witnesses said he alighted from his vehicle to assault Mr Akinromade.
“I was on my to Oke-Fia when I saw gridlock and people shunting. I took it upon myself to control some defiant motorists who were trying to manipulate their ways against traffic rule,” Mr Akinromade told PREMIUM TIMES.
“While I was carrying out this, Mr Bello was passing through the road and he felt I was obstructing his movement. He alighted from his vehicle with annoyance in front of the Nigeria police Microfinance bank along the axis.
“Despite telling him that I am [a] journalist and that I was only carrying out social service, he was slapping me alongside officers attached to him. I was brutalised and embarrassed publicly.”
When contacted, Mr Bello did not deny assaulting Mr Akinromade. He told our correspondent that “I was the only one who slapped him. My police officers were not involved”.
“Tell him (the journalist) to report to the police. He drove against traffic and I slapped him. I was the only one who slapped him and I am not denying that,” he said, before dropping the call.
‘Act of hooliganism’
Condemning the incident, the Advocacy for Advancement of Peace & Harmony in Africa Initiative (ADAPHAI) in a statement by its coordinator, Sulaimon Suberu, said Mr Bello should be sanctioned.
“This act of hooliganism by Bello is condemnable and unacceptable, it is highly unbecoming of a man of his stature and status, although, he has a history of violence and public disturbance even when he held sway as the speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, it is indeed disheartening that Bello has not changed for better despite his age and present exposure.
“Obviously, this type of character with violent mentality and temperamental nature cannot represent Nigeria anywhere, such personality will definitely disgrace Nigeria as an envoy in a foreign land.
“We, therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Bello without delay to avert future damage to Nigeria’s image and unimaginable diplomatic odium,” the statement read.
Mr Bello, a two-term Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly was recently appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s ambassador to Mexico.