Armed Hoodlums Attack Journalists, Cameramen on Guided Tour of Nembe Community

Mr. Chris-Isiguzo
NUJ President.

On August 16, 2023, hoodlums armed with various weapons brutally attacked six journalists and media workers representing different media outlets who went to cover a violent conflict that erupted in Opu Nembe community, Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and confiscated their television cameras and other equipment.

Among those assaulted were Mr. Joseph Kunde of the privately owned television station, Television Continental (TVC), and his cameraman, Mr. Bina Miebi; Mr. Awe Baratuapere of the Federal Government-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and his cameraman, Mr. Ayebakuro Egein; Mrs. Iniyekenime Doctor Bruce of Daar Communications Limited, operators of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower radio; and Mr. Femi Folaranmi of The Sun Publishing Limited.

The journalists were on a guided tour of the community to assess the situation following the conflict. This was after the deployment of the Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) by the Inspector-General of Police in response to the initial unrest.

The hoodlums suddenly emerged from various directions when the media team reached the last demolished building owned by the regent of the community. They attacked the journalists and cameramen who fled in different directions and sought refuge in nearby houses and the Police base.

The Police officers led by Unit Commander, Mr. Silas, however rose to the occasion to repel the hoodlums. While Awe and Femi managed to reach the Police base, the others remained trapped within the community.

Mr. Silas and his team successfully rescued Joseph, but unfortunately, Bina, his cameraman, fell into the hands of the hoodlums. The hoodlums brutalized him and seized his camera and phones when the attackers identified him as a TVC cameraman. They stripped him of his clothing and tied him up.

Later, Mr. Silas re-entered the community to rescue Bina, engaging in a gunfight with the hoodlums.

Mrs. Brice, whose equipment were confiscated by persons who hid her in exchange for her safety, managed to escape to the nearby Ogbolomabiri community. The Police team later rescued her and brought her to the Police base.

All the journalists eventually returned to Yenagoa, while the Police promised to continue their efforts to recover the confiscated equipment.