The Enugu State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the unwarranted arrest and detention of The Sun Newspaper Correspondent in Enugu, Mr. Raphael Ede by the police while he was covering a protest march at Centenary City, Amechi Awkunanaw, in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State on Friday.
“We hereby condemn the act in its totality as the journalist was doing his legitimate duty as at the time the police swooped on him, bundled him to the SARS office in Enugu after beating him to stupor.
“The young man told the union that he was detained from mid-morning hours till about 6:00p.m with neither food nor water on that faithful day.
“The police after beating him took away his NUJ new National ID card and one of his two phones, which has been recovered,” Arum said.
According to Arum, all entreaties made by the union officials and some highly placed police officers in Enugu to secure his release at SARS was futile until the intervention of the state Police Commissioner, Damallam Mohammed.
The NUJ chairman disclosed that a medical examination on Ede indicated that he sustained various degrees of internal injuries occasioned by the merciless beating he received from the overzealous policemen.
“The Union will not take lightly any such act of bullying, intimidation and unlawful arrest of journalists by police or any other security agency in the course of their legitimate duties in Enugu State.
“However, we shall remain partners in the onerous task of contributing to the development of our country, while we believe that the police should not soil the subsisting relationship and partnership between them and the press in Enugu State.
“We appeal to our members to be peaceful and calm as the police authorities concerned are looking into the matter with a view to ensuring peace and good working relationship with them,” he said.
When contacted, Mr Chidi Nnadi, the Assistant Editor/Head of The Sun South East Bureau said he had assigned Mr Ede to cover the Centenary City protest as the protesters had in the morning stormed The Sun Enugu office, demanding coverage after producing the permit the police granted them for the protest.
Nnadi also condemned the police officers that brutalised his reporter for their overzealousness, warning that they should not drag the good image of the state as Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is known by all as a man of peace.
He called on the police commissioner to bring to book the police officers who are soiling the name of the force.