Imo NUJ slams clampdown on Owerri newspaper vendors by security op-s
The Imo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the recent clampdown on newspaper vendors in Owerri, the state capital by security operatives.
Imo NUJ made the remarks in a press release titled “Clampdown on newspaper vendors in Owerri by security operatives” made available to ElombahNews.
The press release co-signed by the Caretaker chairman, Comrade Precious Nwadike, and the Caretaker Secretary, Comrade Austin Okoro, reads:
“It has come to our notice that the security operatives early this morning stormed the Rotibi Street, Owerri where vendors usually assemble to receive and distribute newspapers, and arrested scores of vendors and distributors.
Before now, we had also learnt that the New Telegraph Newspaper Sales Representative was arrested at Banana Junction, Orlu by security operatives.
Till date, all efforts made to locate him have proved abortive as sources at relevant security agencies in Imo have denied knowledge of such arrest.
This latest onslaught on the pen profession and its ancillary arms seem to be a very loud confirmation of the much talked about fast drift of the nation away from democracy to tyranny, chaos and oppression.
We consider this development highly worrisome and call on the security agents to be more circumspect in their dealings with the people.
We suppose we are still under a democratic dispensation and our profession is protected by Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution and other extant laws of the land.
The media remains a bastion of democracy and should for no reason be gagged.
We therefore call on the security agents to release the vendors or come up with explanation of the offence they committed beyond selling newspapers at their various newspaper stands.
Where any serious offence(s) known to the laws of Nigeria is/are established against them, we urge that they be charged to the court for open trial than holding them beyond the time stipulated by the law.
We believe Nigeria’s constitution guarantees them to engage in their means of livelihood for which they are being held. Anything contrary to this demands explanation.
Now is time to work towards peace in all fronts than doing things that fuel anarchy.”