Some journalists in Ebonyi State were on Tuesday attacked by political thugs during the screening of Commissioner-nominees sent to the State House of Assembly for screening and confirmation.
Among those attacked were Ogochukwu Anioke, the state Correspondent of The Nation Newspapers, Samson Nwafor of the Nigerian Pilot Newspaper and others. They sustained hand injuries.
After attacking the journalists, the thugs also held Anioke hostage inside the Assembly premises by ordering the gateman to lock the gate as he made to drive out of the Assembly complex in Nkaliki road Abakaliki.
The incident happened after the Speaker, Hon Francis Nwifuru, noticed some irregularities in document of one of the nominees which shows that the year of his graduation from Primary School did not correspond with the year he started secondary school.
Nwifuru had asked him to explain how he started secondary school a year before the year he graduated from primary school as stated in his result but he could not give any reasonable answer to the query from the lawmakers.
Speaking with reporters after the incident, Anioke narrated that he witnessed one of the lawmakers having an altercation as they confronted him for trying to stop them from interviewing the Commissioner-nominee.
“As the lawmaker was shouting on top of his voice, his boys joined him and attacked one of the journalists, Samson Nwafor of the Nigerian Pilot Newspapers and hit him very hard on his chest and he fell down.
“At this point I intervened and joined in separating the fight. The noise also attracted some Police Officers working in the Assembly who came and helped to restore calm. Later Mr Stanley Emegha came and pleaded with the journalists to forgive the lawmaker and the thugs who attached them,” Anioke said.
He further narrated that at that point, one of the thugs who were with him came and started shouting again that the journalists can go and write whatever they want.
“He also threatened to beat us up and warned that we should leave the place. At that point I became unconformable and made to enter my ca but his boys came and held my car door and dragged me out. One of them came from the back and hit me on the back of my head while others joined in the bearing.
“I managed to extricate myself from them and entered my car, this time, the Commissioner nominee himself came and held my car door. I started the car nonetheless and drove off forcing him and others with him to leave the door.
“But as I got to the gate, they told the gateman to lock the gate and not to allow me to leave. They swamped around my car and were trying to forcefully open it but they couldn’t. Some were hitting the glasses with their hands trying to break it. At that point, the Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr. Tony Nwizi came and told the security men to open the gate which they did and I managed to escape to safety”
Source News Express