he Civil Liberties Organisation and the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday condemned the assault, arrest and detention of a female journalist, Mary Ekere, by the task force of the state government’s Environmental & Waste Management Agency headed by Prince Ikim.
The two bodies described Ekere’s assault, arrest and detention in Uyo Prisons as unlawful and criminal.
Ekere, a journalist with The Post Newspaper, a local tabloid in the
state, was arrested and physically assaulted on Monday, September 16, by the agents of the Akwa Ibom government agency.
Ekere was reportedly assaulted for taking pictures of the agency’s task force as they confiscated traders’ ware at Ibom Plaza.
According to reports, Ekere was physically assaulted and dragged into a waiting vehicle, and was later taken to the agency’s office, from where she was taken to court, and finally remanded in prison custody overnight.
Miss Ekere, who was released today (Wednesday) after two days of
incarceration, said, “I was taken to Sanitation Court, off Nkemba
“Unfortunately, the Magistrate was not around and I was
remanded in prison custody.”
It was learnt that she was brought to court the following day (Tuesday) by the prison guards in their vehicle where she pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges leveled against her before the court.
She was subsequently granted bail in the sum of N10,000.
Reacting to the incident, CLO chairman in the state, Mr. Franklyn Isong, said it was unlawful and criminal for the government agency to have ordered the arrest of the journalist who was merely carrying out her lawful duties as a reporter.
He demanded an apology from the agency to the reporter and the
Nigerian Union of Journalists in the state.
Franklyn said, “It is criminal and unlawful for the Akwa Ibom State
government agency to order arrest of the journalist who was carrying out her duties.
“We condemn it and we demand a written apology from the agency
to the reporter in question and the entire body of the NUJ in
The NUJ chairman in the state, Amos Etuk, in a statement in
Uyo, expressed shock that Miss Ekere was sent back to prison even
after the presiding judge had granted her bail, and her father had met the bail terms.
“It is shocking that Miss Ekere was taken back to prison custody
after her bail conditions had been met,” Etuk said.
In the same vein, the chairman of the federated chapel, where the
victim belongs, Mr. Inimfon Silas, in a statement condemned
the act, adding that the arrest of the journalist was an indication
that journalists in the state were no longer safe to carry out their
He vowed to use legal means to secure justice for the victim,
Also the state chairman of the Nigeria Association of Women
Journalists, Akwa Ibom State, Mrs. Uduak Ekong,who condemned the act, said she had called out her members in a peaceful protest on Wednesday morning to register their grievances.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Waste Management Agency, Prince Ikim, said he was not aware of Miss Ekere’s remand in prison after meeting the bail term.