Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia
The management of All Breaking News Television/Radio station (ABN TV/Radio) based in Umuahia the Abia State capital has expressed worry our the invasion of her broadcasting house by Police operatives attached to the Umuahia Area command of Nigeria Police Force.
A statement by the director ABN TV/Radio Mr Ifeanyi Okali, on Wednesday revealed that the incident occured at about 2:40pm on Tuesday January 16 during live interview session with a guest identified as Mr. Udensi Donald.
He stated that the police claimed an elder brother to their the guest, one Mr Uche Onwuka Udensi had written a petition against him over a family matter.
Okali lamented that despite repeated pleas by the staff of the Media outfit to the officers to allow the programme come to an end before the guest could be arrested, they insisted on whisking him away while the live programme was on.
The director who demanded an apology from the police over the unruly attitude of her operatives, also pointed out that many of organization’s broadcast equipment, including a laptop, camera and microphones were damaged during the forceful arrest of their guest.
The statement read in part, ”
At about 2:40pm on Tuesday, January 16, 2023, the policemen invaded our station during a live programme to arrest our guest, one Mr. Udensi Donald during a programme, Youth Rendezvous.
“We find this very provocative and indeed an act of overzealousness by the officers who obviously acted in clear contravention of rule of engagement.
“It clearly also negates the enhanced police-civil relations which the Commissioner of Police, CP Kene Onwuemeile has consistently campaigned for.
“When the Director of the media organization who was in Aba for an assignment was informed of the development, he quickly reached out to the Commissioner of Police who immediately invited staff of ABN TV/Radio to properly brief him on what happened, officers on duty barricaded the door and harassed, intimidated and threatened to detain them.
“We also want to put on record, during the gestapo arrest, many of our broadcast equipment were fatally damaged, including a laptop, camera and microphones.
“We find this an attack on press freedom and most especially open violation of human right to expression, having taken place during a live broadcast where critical issues about youth development were being discussed.
“We demand an open apology from the Abia State Command of the Nigerian Police over this unprovoked attack in our studio.
“It has equally left us with huge financial losses following the damage of our equipment. We are also calling for the replacement of the affected tools.
“From all indications, the officers were not properly schooled on best approaches to relate with the civil populace in a democratic environment where the media plays a key role to enhance their relations with the generality of the society”.
When contacted the Police Public Relations Officers in the State Moureen Chilaka, who confirmed the incident, said she will get back to correspondent shortly.