Thursday, 15 February 2018

Akwa-Ibom Journalist Brutalized By Police Officers In Akwa-Ibom State House Of Assembly

Nigeria Police officers were yesterday at the premises of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly accused of brutalizing a journalist working with the Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC) attached to the Assembly Press Corps, Mr. Samuel Ayara. According to an eyewitness, Mr Ayara was mercilessly brutalised which made him to suffer eye injury from teargas spread on his face.

This is coming barely two weeks after the state Police Commissioner, Mr Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, visited the Assembly to seek closer collaboration and support of the legislature to enable the state police command achieve maximum result in their duties.

Sunday Agada, the policeman identified as the one who allegedly initiated the assault on Ayara, is said to be attached to the member representing Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo State Constituency, Mr. Uduak Udoudoh.

While Ayara was attacked with tear gas, other policemen allegedly gathered around Ayara and used the butts of their guns to hit him on his body and head.

The attack created panic, as people moving around the office of Mr Odudoh ran helter-skelter to avoid being affected by the teargas.

“I was going round the offices of some of lawmakers at about 12.30pm to interact with their wives who came to celebrate Valentine with their husbands.

"When I was in front of the office of the member representing Ikot Abasi State constituency, Mr. Uduak Udoudoh, one of his security details shouted at me saying, ‘Who are you and where do you think you are going to?’.

“I asked him why he yelled at me and if that was how he addressed people. Almost immediately, policemen numbering about 10 gathered around me and started beating me. Some hit me with the butts of their guns and another released a tear gas canister on my face.

“Afterwards, none of the policemen apologised to me. I am an asthmatic patient and the tear gas is dangerous to my health", said Ayara shortly after his colleagues rushed to the scene of the incident.

The Chairman of the Akwa Ibom Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Patrick Albert, condemned the assault and said he would investigate and meet with the Speaker on the issue.

Albert said, “The assault on Ayara is condemnable. We cannot continue to condone a situation where our members are constantly molested while carrying out their duties.”

Ayara's case was not the first time a security agent would assault a journalist in Akwa Ibom State.

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