Details of how soldiers harassed journalists at NUJ secretariat

Following the invasion of the Abia state chapter of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) by some soldiers deployed to the state, some of the affected journalists have recounted how they were slapped and their valuables destroyed on Tuesday.

The journalists said about 20 soldiers, who were on a show of force, invaded the NUJ hall and manhandled two journalists, destroying their working tools in the process.

Bonny Okoro, one of the affected journalists and the state correspondent of The Oracle Today, said he and other journalists at the press centre gathered at the windows and balcony of the two-storey building, to catch a glimpse of the troops driving in a convoy toward Bende Road in the city.

“While I was peeping through the window, I noticed that two trucks suddenly stopped around the tower, while no fewer than 20 armed men jumped out and headed for our office,” he said.

“Before we knew what was happening, they had invaded the NUJ hall, accosted me and demanded to have my cell phone.

“I told them that I did not have my handset on me. One of them gave me a slap, seized my bag, from where he took out my Samsung tablet and smashed it on the ground.

“Another one also stamped his booth on the screen, while another hit the nozzle of his rifle on it, smashing it beyond repairs.”

Sunny Nwakanma, correspondent of Daily Times who was also affected, said his handset was destroyed by the soldiers.

He said they accosted him as he retreated from the balcony into the hall, “grabbed my handset and smashed it”.

John Emejor, chairman of the state council of NUJ, described the attack as “a desecration of the hallowed chambers of journalists in the state”.

He said the attack was “unprovoked” and that “it is unheard of that journalist who are rendering selfless service to humanity and the nation, including the military, should be a target for military attack”.

Meanwhile, Oyegoke Gbadamosi, spokesman of the 14 brigade, Nigerian Army, Ohafia, has expressed regrets over the reported attack, saying the culprits will be punished.

Okezie Ikpeazu, governor of Abia state, has since declared a curfew in Aba over the attack which came on the the trail of the declaration of ‘Operation Python Dance’ by the army authorities.

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Ayo Olowo is a writer, a web developer, an online marketer. My interest is in sports and international affairs.

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