Edo Gov Poll: Contrversy Over Arrest of 9 Journalists by Security Agencies
Nine persons, including a military officer said to be on Absent Without Leave, AWOL, were arrested by security operatives at a hotel in Benin City, Wednesday night, after they claimed to be journalists in the state to cover the September 28, governorship election.
The suspects who are currently in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, were arrested in a joint operation between the men of the Nigerian Army, DSS and the Police.
It was gathered that they were arrested after a tip off that the men who posed as journalists were in the state to perpetrate mayhem during the election scheduled for Wednesday next week. But the nine Journalists, said they are Watchdog Media crew on their website.
They said that they arrived Benin on Tuesday to cover the election slated for September 28 in the state but were arrested on Wednesday, at 1.45a.m., from their Douban hotel accommodation after being beaten to stupor by the security operatives led by a Captain.
The affected newsmen include: Tony Abulu (Prod. Manager); Richard Hasley (Reporter); Opara Uche (Reporter); Handy Romeo Eze (Reporter); Kelvin Toryila (Video editor), Lanre Ogunleye ( IT person), Balogun Ehigie (IT ); Kenneth Danpome (Head IT), Mathew (Logistics Manager) and Joe Epi (Driver). Watchdog Media said that the journalists were taken away, wearing only boxers after they were brutalised and their property, including identity cards, laptops and mobile phones seized from them.
“We, therefore, call on the general public to condemn the dastardly act of the Nigerian security and rise to the rescue of the Journalists,” the media organisation.
Meanwhile, the Director of Media of the National governorship campaign of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Domingo Obende, who reacted to the incident, said “This has further exposed Peoples Democratic Party, PDP’s plot to unleash mayhem in this state ahead the election.
We have been raising this alarm that the PDP never wanted election. They only want violence but they thought we were raising false alarm. “We are happy that our security agents have been up and doing and we appeal to them to ensure that they mop up all the militants they brought into the state so that we can have a hitch free election.”