Journalists in Ebonyi State have expressed their concern over the alleged persistent assault, unjustified arrests, and detentions carried out by the Crack Squad of the Ebonyi State Police Command.
Two journalists, namely Benjamin Nworie, a state correspondent for ThisDay, and Obinna Ogbonnaya of the Leadership newspapers, have shared their experiences with the media in Abakaliki.
They have also submitted a petition to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, seeking his intervention.
In their separate accounts, Benjamin Nworie, who serves as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ebonyi State, revealed that he had been unlawfully arrested, detained, and subjected to extortion by the aforementioned police operatives.
Nworie explained that the operatives of the Crack Squad of Ebonyi State Police Command stormed the shop where he was sitting with his three other friends and arrested them.
He noted that all efforts to identify himself and his friends proved abortive, as they were immediately whisked away to the state police headquarters.
“On Thursday, October 19, 2023, at about 7:30 pm, I stopped over at my friend’s shop at the ever-busy G-hostel road. Shortly as I sat down with my three other friends, men of the Crack Squad sighted our table, stopped and rounded us, seized our phones, and forced me, and my three friends into their two hilus vans to the headquarters of Ebonyi Police Command.
“On getting to the office of the Crack Squad, we were forcefully ordered to remove our clothes and pushed inside the smelling Cell containing 32 arrested persons,” he stated.
On his part: Ogbonnaya Obinna, who is the regional director of Leadership newspaper, said: “It was a bitter experience for me last night. The little boy, who is not up to the age of my younger ones, ordered me to park, treated me as a nobody, and just ignored all my explanations to him. Even when I showed him my ID card,” he lamented.
When contacted for reaction, the spokesperson of Ebonyi State Police Command, SP. Onome Onovwakpoyeya said: “Concerning the journalist, (referring to Benjamin Nworie), he could not identify himself during a raid, and as such, was taken to the headquarters, but when the NUJ chairman came to identify him, he was allowed to go,” she stated.