Government house policemen on Monday manhandled and arrested the Imo state correspondent,The PUNCH newspapers, Chidiebube Okeoma, for covering widows who were protesting six months arrears of salaries owed them by the state government.
The policemen who came in the company of thugs from Owerri Capital Development Authority, slapped and punched the journalist before bundling him into their waiting vehicle.
The had confisticated his gadgets and attempted to shoot him if he dared said any word.
After beating the journalist, the visibly charged policemen drove him into the governor’s office in Owerri.
Okeoma, said that he was matched into the governor’s office where he was taken to office of the Chief Security officer in charge of the state government house, one Shaba Adamu.
Okeoma, said that on seeing him, Adamu requested he be detained but on a second thought asked the journalist to explain what he was doing where the women were protesting.
The journalist said ” I was at the government house roundabout where I was covering widows who were protesting their six months non payment of salaries owed them by the state government.
” While I was there, policemen welding riffles with thugs from OCDA berged into me after cocking their guns. One of them immediately slapped me while the other punched me on my left eye and immediately took all my gadgets.
” They demanded to know who gave me the permission to cover the protest but in response I told them that my power to cover the protest was enshrined in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. They immediately dragged me on my waist and put me inside one of their operational vehicles and drove me to Imo state government house.
” The policemen who were harassing and intimidating me in the vehicle, matched me like a common criminal to the office of the governor where I was bundled into the office of the government house Chief Security officer, Shaba Adamu.
” On sighting me, Adamu said that I ought to have been detained instead of bringing me to him but I told him that I am not criminal but the Imo state correspondent of The PUNCH newspapers. He requested to know gave me the permission to cover the protest but I insisted that my roles as a journalist are enshrined in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
” The policeman then demanded to see the video footages I made and on seeing them he ordered on me gunpoint to delete them which I did. He ordered that my gadgets be released to me afterwards.
He later gave me N5,000 to use and treat myself which I collected on gunpoint and warned me not to cover repeat it again. I have since taken the money to the police but the police authority didn’t take it.”
Okeoma said that he feel pains internally owing to the beating the policemen gave him.
The journalist said that he had since reported the development to the state commissioner of police, Abutu Yaro.
Okeoma, said that the state commissioner for information and strategy, Declan Emelumba, apologized to him.
This is not the first time Okeoma was being manhandled as he was on June 10 robbed by gunmen wearing DSS insignia.
The gunmen kidnapped a businessman, Batram Iwuala, Okeoma was with.