Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, Akwa State command, on Friday arrested a newspaper distributor, Mr Chidi Ngadiubia, and detained him at Ikot-Akpan Abia, allegedly on the order of the State government.
It was gathered that Ngadiubia was picked up at his distribution point by the operatives who were trailing to arrest the publisher of the Mail newspaper, Mr. Ifreke Nseowo, over alleged offensive publications.
According to the report, a female caller had tricked the publisher, who had been on the run, by telling him she has an advert for him for publication in his paper.
The source added that the caller was referred to drop the advertisement materials with the newspaper distributor to be picked up at a later date.
But on arrival at Mr Ngaduibia’s distribution point, they arrested and dragged him to the Police Headquarters Ikot Akpanabia, in Uyo, the state capital, and asked him to produce the publisher, else he will be made to face the wrath for connivance.
Recalled that the plot to arrest the publisher had been widely reported by other local tabloids in the state, who had alleged that the State government is not happy with certain publications of the newspaper as it relates to the PDP candidate Umo Uno’s alleged certificate forgery scandal.
Meanwhile, Federated Chapel of which Ifreke Nseowo is a member has condemned in strong terms the manner in which journalists are being hounded in the state.
The Chairman of the chapel, Mr. Nsibiet John, in a statement, described the development as “wicked, callous, ungodly, satanic and a fresh attempt to violently violate all known rules of democracy and free press.”
He said the arrest of Chidi in place of The Mail Publisher has also raised fresh concerns as the NUJ in Akwa Ibom State had reiterated its stance of not allowing any of her members to be victimised and hounded by any individual, group or institution.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, while responding to the development said that the State NUJ chairman, Mr Emos Etuk, had already called his attention to the matter.
While pledging that the command would invite the parties involved for amicable resolutions, he called on journalists to practice the profession within the ambit of the law and respect other people’s views
He said, “I have been called by the NUJ Chairman on this not long ago. We need more details on this. We will stand for the truth as an institution. We are committed to serving the good people of this state.
“We wish to call on our amiable Members of the Fourth Estate of the Realms to practice their profession within the ambits of the law and respect other people’s views and rights.
Let those concern reach me for us to find the truth and create a level playing ground for all.”