From Nonye Udumiri,
Newspapers and Magazines Distributors Association, Aba chapter, on Tuesday lamented over the harassment, confiscation of their newspapers and arrest of their members by police officers and soldier.
Mr. Ike C. Ike, the chairman of the association who addressed Journalists at the secretariat of Aba Federated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) said that the police have made newspaper vendors a targets for extortion.
Meanwhile, Abia State Police Commissioner, Janet Agbede who denied knowledge of the allegations, promised to check and get back to our reporter, but failed to as she promised after 24 hours.
The association’s Chairman said that any time there is a security challenge in Aba, police and soldiers most especially police will start harassing vendors, confiscating national and regional newspapers, making them to live in fear.
He described newspaper distributors as partners with journalists and publishers in information dissemination, stressing that what they sell to readers and customers are not their products but products of registered national dailies.
Ike lamented that anytime there is crisis between law enforcement agencies and the masses, it is we the newspaper distributors that suffer the loss, as police and other agencies will come to news stand, confiscate newspapers.
“You all represent different national dailies and broadcast stations and you are the voice of the voiceless and we need your help.
“We need help. From Brass Junction, MCC Junction, Alaoji and Ogbor-Hill, no newspaper stand is safe from harassment anymore. They will carry these papers and will not tell us the stations they came from. We cannot even retrieve our papers anymore.”
In his response to the vendors complaints, Chairman of Aba Federated Chapel of NUJ, Mr. Godfrey Ofurum said that it is unfortunate that such a thing is happening in a 21st century where an average security agent ought to know the importance of the press.