Newspaper vendors under the aegis of Aba Newspaper and Magazine Distributor Association, in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, have staged a protest over police arrest and detention of its members.
The Protest took off from the NUJ Secretariat Aba with vendors protesting against the constant intimidation and arrest of their members by the officers of the Police command in Aba.
In a press statement signed by the group’s Chairman and its Secretary, the Newspaper Vendors called the attention of the Nigerian Union of Journalist, Guide of Editors, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Human Rights Organizations, Nigeria Bar Association, Federal and the State Government to the constant harassment, intimidations and arrests of their members by the SWART Security Operatives in Aba.
According to the statement, one of their members arrested by the police is still in detention and the Police had asked them to pay the sum of N100,000 for his bail out.
The statement revealed that one of the members of the Aba Newspaper and Magazine Distributor Association, Mr. Anthony Acho a 77 years old man who is hypertensive, was arrested by the SWART operatives in Aba.
“This our member has been in the Police custody since 30 May, 2021 at Eziama, Aba North, where SWART have office and they have refused to release him to the relations or even allow the family access to where he was to give him his routine hypertension drugs, unless they pay the sum of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00) for bail which, the family cannot afford.
“We therefore call on the Police, the Commissioner for Information in Abia State and other relative authorities to mediate or we will cease operation from Monday, the 7th day of June, 2021 till our member is released and adequate compensation paid over the actions against him”, the statement read further.
“It should be noted that this is another form of gaging the press, as we only remain street vendors whose duty is to disseminate information to the grassroots, as the last arm of the print media information dissemination”, the statement concludes