Gele Agbai, Owerri
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Imo State Council, has condemned the arrest of newspaper vendors and distributors in Owerri on Monday.
The union described the arrest as embarrassing more so when the state Police Command and Directorate of State Security (DSS) were not privy to the arrest prior to its execution.
In a statement signed by Chairman, Chief Chris Akaraonye and Secretary, Kuliet Dim, the NUJ said it considers the arrest insulting that the state government was not alerted before it was carried out.
It demanded that the presidency and police authorities to investigate the arrest of newspaper vendors by the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team.
It stated that the arrest was capable of further heightening tension in the state.
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The NUJ noted that the nation has sufficient laws to take care of any infraction with regards to publications that are likely to breach public peace and security.
According to the union, such perceived infractions are better handled by courts of competent jurisdiction and not by security agencies resorting to gestapo-style of arrest, as if the nation is under a military junta.
The NUJ however assured it would not support anything that would undermine the peace and security of the nation.
It therefore appealed to journalists, media workers and ancillary service providers to remain calm and go about their lawful duties as the leadership of the union is working with other stakeholders and security agencies to resolve the issue and get to the root of the matter.
The union commended the Commissioner for Information, Mr Declan Emelumba, Commissioner of Police, Director, DSS and leadership of Imo Newspaper Publishers Association (INPA) for their efforts and cooperation in securing the release of the arrested vendors.