The Ebonyi branch of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has threatened to boycott reportage of all activities of the Ebonyi State Police Command.
The Union on September 16, 2016, made the threat following the arrest and detention of two of its members by the Ebonyi State Police Command.
Uchenna Inya, correspondent of the New Telegraph newspaper in Ebonyi State, was arrested and detained by the Police, on September 16, after an alleged tip-off that Inya was writing an article on the 17th anniversary of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, a movement by the people of Biafra state in Nigeria.
According to NUJ, although the article was not published anywhere, the Police arrested Inya and seized his phone and working equipment. He was released after five hours. While Inya has told fellow journalists about his ordeal, the Public Relations Officer of the Ebonyi Police Command has denied the incident, saying the journalist was never arrested.
Another Journalist, Emmanuel Igwe of the National Issue Newspaper was also arrested and detained by the Police for publishing an advertorial indicting the state commissioner of police. Igwe has since petitioned the Inspector-General of Police over the matter.
Condemning the incidents, the National Vice President, South East zone, Chris Isiguzo stressed that the arrest and detention of the journalists was “alien to the norms and practice of true democracy in the country.”
He urged the Police Command to see journalists as partners in progress in the fight against criminality and other social vices in society. While urging the police to respect the work of journalists, he also appealed to journalists to go about their work diligently.
The MFWA joins NUJ in condemning the arrests of the journalists and calls on the Inspector General of Nigerian Police Force, Ibrahim Idris Kpotum to ensure that journalists are safe to do their work and are accorded the respect and assistance they require in their work.