A member of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Amaekpu Item, Bende LGA of Abia State, Mr. Iheanacho Udensi is under fire from members of Aba Federated Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists for allegedly attacking a journalist, Mr. Ikoku Ogbonnaya.
Ogbonnaya, who is the Abia State correspondent of Punch Newspaper, was at Amaekpu Item to cover the Abia State local government and councillorship elections when over 10 persons, allegedly led by Udensi, swooped on Ogbonnaya, dragging him around and seizing his working tools in the process at about 1:30PM.
Udensi, who was said to be a PDP candidate and his violent supporters, allegedly attacked the journalist, accusing him of working for an opposition party.
Ogbonnaya was interviewing some voters who were awaiting the arrival of voting materials when the suspected thugs swooped on him.
All efforts by Ogbonnaya to explain to his attackers his status, including presentation of his identification card, fell on deaf ears as they tampered with some of the tools before releasing it to him, but not without manhandling the reporter.
But reacting to the ugly development, the Aba Federated Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists, in a statement by Mr. Godfrey Ofurum Jr and Ejindu Iheaka, Vice Chairman and Secretary, respectively, vowed that the actions of the politician and his cohorts would not be swept under the carpets.
The federated chapel wondered why a journalist, who was discharging his constitutional and professional duties, would be attacked, adding that a journalist is empowered by the Nigerian constitution to hold public office holders accountable to the people.
The statement read in part, “any person or organization that has a grievance against a journalist in a democracy should not harm him but report to his medium or NUJ for appropriate action”.
The statement called for an unreserved apology from Udensi to Ogbonnaya in particular and the journalism industry in general.
Speaking to News Echo on Tuesday at the NUJ Press Center, Umuahia, Ogbonnaya confirmed his travails, adding that he had concluded plans to report the matter to the Abia State Police Command.
” Yes my brother, what you heard is true, I was attacked in the line of my professional duty but I am even planning to write a petition to Abia State Police Command on the matter”, Ogbonnaya said.