Some Delta journalists have raised alarm over the actions of some members of the Nigeria police who harassed and threatened them while monitoring the PDP House of Assembly primaries held at Martins College, Issele –Uku in Aniocha North local government area of Delta state.
According to reports made available to Emeraldng.com, the journalists were said to have been in the premises of the college where the primary was held quite early to monitor the process but after much hours when the process could not commence, they stepped out while waiting for when the process would commence.
At their return, the police refused them access and were told to wait until accreditation was over. They waited under the sun for two hours and when the accreditation process was through, the police still prevented them from gaining access to the venue despite showing them their identity cards as journalists.
When they demanded to know why the police officer, one inspector Idris Musa, was denying them access into the venue for the primaries, Sergeant Idris Musa was said to have cocked his gun and pointed at Austin Azu, the vice chairman of the indigenous correspondent chapel of the NUJ, to shoot at him.
Azu said he narrowly escaped the head of the gun besides the plan of the officer Idris to shoot him. Azu said he was standing directly opposite the gate to the venue, hence the gun hit the gate thereby preventing the officer from hitting his eyes with the gun.
The journalists is calling on the inspector-general of police, commissioner of police, Delta state command, the divisional police officer in charge of Issele-uku to direct Sergeant Idris Musa to apologize to the journalists and the Nigerian media for the uncivilized and uncultured manner Idris conducted himself.
BELOW IS THE FULL TRANSCRIPT OF WHAT TRANSPIRED BETWEEN THE JOURNALISTS AND THE POLICE OFFICERS
What happened was that on that very day of the primaries, when arrived Aniocha north, we saw heavy presence of security officials. They barricaded the road and there was no entrance. So, we packed our car far outside. We went in and the police asked us questions. We introduced ourselves as journalists from Asaba. We were eight. After our introduction, we sat down, thereafter we became hungry.
We asked where we could eat and we were directed. After eating, we saw some officers sitting by the vehicles they used to cross the road and they said we cannot past. We told them that we are journalists. We have been here, we went to eat, please, we are not passing through the main entrance, we want to navigate through the back door.
They refused us to pass through. They said who are we? We said we are journalists. They said which fake journalists, journalists that can go and print ID card from cybercafé and business centre. The ladies with us got angry that what kind of statement was that. I’ve forgotten the name of the sergeant that made that statement. The action of the police caused uproar. While that was going on, Chuks Oseme, chairman of the local government came. He said because of the security on ground, nobody should pass. He said we should go back.
We said chairman, there is no way out we can go back. One guy just came in from nowhere among the vigilante and said the only way for us to pass was to pass through the small shortcut at the back. Immediately he made the statement, they started beating him, Oseme was shouting at him from his own end. The guy was handicapped. The chairman told him who invited him to the matter. One of the DPOs, the name is Adesina, I don’t know the other name, an ASP, came in, intervened, he was angry that why should the other officer say we went to print ID card from cybercafés. One of us, Ogor, now said she will call the CP and report the officer to him.
The officer said who is that fucking CP that you want to call. That was when Lucy got angry and said you call your CP fucking CP. Even when the ASP was telling the other sergeant that he was disobeying what he is saying that he asked him to keep quiet he was still talking. At the end of the day, they brought the matters to a standstill, we found our way and went back to our vehicle. They said we should remove our vehicle from where we packed it because of security reasons. We drove out of that place.
When the time for accreditation came, we returned but they told us we cannot be allowed in that they only accredit delegates and after the accreditation they will allow us in. After about two hours, we came in, the police again said we cannot go in. They held us in the first check point. Matthew Ochei, an aide to the local government chairman, thereafter came in. The chairman called him but they said he cannot pass. They said he needed chairman’s clearance. The chairman came and cleared him and he went in. We asked Oseme what about us? He said no problem he will get across to us. So, we waited over one hour, nobody came. We spoke to the ASP, Adesina, he said no problem. But nobody came to clear us. Thereafter, rain began to fall.
After the rain, when we returned, the sergeant that was there, I can remember one sergeant Sani and others. They said we can go up to the entrance that they will see us from there. We went close to the entrance. Even when we were going, at another police checkpoint again, they said we cannot past that they did not clear us. We explained ourselves. After about 5 minutes, we passed through and got to the gate. Getting to the gate, we were now eight in number, including Radio Nigeria reporter and Chukwudi Abiandu. We introduced ourselves, brought out our ID card. We told them we have been held outside for quite some time and that they should kindly allow us to go in.
I brought out my government house ID card, my radio station ID card. We told them we wanted to cover the election. Suddenly, one guy from inside, Sergeant Idris Musa, came out and said who is that journalist that said he wants to go inside? Are they not those journalists that were fighting our colleagues since? We told him that we did not fight your colleagues, listen and hear what happened. He said he won’t listen. He ordered us to get out of that place immediately.
We said you don’t talk like that, we are here to cover the election. Please, allow us to go inside. He said it is the chairman that must come to clear us and beside he is not allowing any of us to go in. The other of his colleagues were telling him to calm down. He started raising uproar. The ladies among us again got angry and said they wanted to leave the place that this nonsense was too much. So, when Idris was attempting to go back, I now called him by his rank name, I said Sergeant Idris Musa, you don’t want to open the gate for us. Suddenly, the guy brought out his gun, if not for God, the gun would have hit and blinded my eyes.
I was standing directly opposite the gate and when he brought out the gun, the gun hit the entrance of the gate and that brought much uproar to the area. I thereafter retreated backward. Thereafter Matthew came, he was now explaining to our colleagues that we should leave the place. The local government chairman was there, even when Abiandu was calling him to intervene, he did not do anything.
There were other people trying to calm the whole situation down. They said this is politics. We were barred from going in. Before then, the chairman told us that DRTV was there, NTA was there and that we were not invited. He did not allow us. He prevented us using the security agencies. It was God, if not, the police man would have blinded my eyes. That was how it ended.
AS NARRATED BY AUSTIN AZU, CROWN FM REPORTER AND VICE CHAIRMAN OF INDIGENOUS CORRESPONDENT CHAPEL IN ASABA DELTA STATE