A journalist attached to Vanguard Newspaper was on Sunday assaulted and detained by Police officers attached to the Ughelli Police Area Command while trying to monitor the result collation of yesterday’s presidential and national assembly elections.
The journalist who was disallowed from entering the Ughelli office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, lamented his ordeal after spending close to an hour behind the counter.
Vanguard’s Perez Brisibe told newsmen that when he got to the INEC Collation center at about 6:15am, an officer attached to the Counter Terrorism Unit, CTU barked at him asking who he was, adding that after showing the officer his INEC media accreditation card, the officer said: “Is that why you are walking freely into the premise? In short leave this place now.”
According to Perez, while trying to explain to the officer on the need to allow him access into the collation center, two other officers accosted him from behind saying, “Who gave you the guts to talk back to an officer? Obey the order and get out of this premise.”
Surprisingly, the officer slapped him followed by punches from other officers including a female CTU officer who freely used a horse wipe on him.
He said: “In obeying their order, I was walking out and trying to inform my colleagues of what had transpired when two of them pounced on me again saying, you are making calls abi? In short, we are locking you up.
“At this point, they dragged me across the main road like a common criminal to the police station, dumped me in a tear gassed passage way leading to the cell and forced me to seat on the bare ground after confiscating my phone and tearing my shirt to shreds.”
“While on the ground, I notice a senior police officer at the counter, that was when I raised an alarm by calling his attention that am a journalist having shown him my INEC accreditation tag and that his men assaulted and buddle me behind the counter for no clear reason, he was the person that ordered that I be release immediately.”
Another journalist who had come to the station to inquire on the position of things with the detained journalist also recounted his ordeal, saying he too was assaulted by a police officer on the order of the DPO, Mr. Hassan Galadima.
The journalist who is the publisher of Advocate Newspaper, Mr. Shedrack Onitsha said when he got to the station after identifying himself, he told the officer at the counter that his colleague was detained but the officer said: “Do you want to join him behind the counter or what?”
“It was at this point that an officer at the counter I later identified as the DPO backed at me saying, who is this madman, my friend buddle him out of this place. At that point, one of the officers implementing the order, bundled me and threw me outside the station.”