Okafor Ifiebor/Port Harcourt
In what seemed like a case of transferred aggression, officers of Rivers State Police Command have become increasingly hostile to journalists and media workers as they are now easily irritated by the sight of identity cards of newsmen.
The Guardian Newspaper’s Circulation officer in Rivers, Mr. Andortan Romeo, his Thisday and News Telegraph counterparts, Abel Jumbo and Joe Etim witnessed the change in attitude of policemen to media personnel when they were attacked by officers of the Eagle Crack Unit of the Mile One Police Division, while carrying out their official duties of the distribution of newspapers.
The newspapers’ circulation officers said the police officers got angry when they displayed their identity cards and started hitting them, alleging that the media was carrying fake news against the Police.
According to Romeo, “We showed them our identity cards and they got infuriated, started beating and torturing us, they asked us to kneel down and later, took Joe to their station to cut grass”.
Collaborating Romeo’s statement, Jumbo said, ” I have not been able to access my office for the past five days now. The E-crack police officers at the Mile one police have been torturing us, despite showing them our Identity cards as the media.”
“They were so angry with us saying, we have been reporting fake news against them, after beating us, they asked some of us to kneel down for several hours while they took some to their station to cut grass”.
Similarly, Journalists whose offices are mostly located in the Mile One Axis of Port Harcourt have not been able to access their offices since the curfew was imposed in the area by Governor Nyesom Wike due to disturbances by suspected members Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Officers of the infamous Eagle Crack Unit have refused to give exemption to journalists to have access despite presenting valid identification since the state government imposed curfew on the area about a week ago.
Contacted, the Spokesman of the State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said he was very busy, but later requested that the victims should see him in his office.