Journalist Beaten by Political Thugs while Covering Youth Protest

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Jonathan Ugbal
Civic Space Editor, CrossRiverWatch

On February 22, 2023, the CrossRiverWatch Civic Space Editor, Jonathan Ugbal, was attacked by suspected agents of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) along Mekenge Layout in Calabar Municipality while covering a protest by youths of Ikot Abasi Obori community. The thugs beat him up outside the campaign office used by two of the party’s candidates, Hon. Eta Mbora (Calabar Municipal/Odukpani federal constituency) and Hon. Efa Esua (Calabar Municipal House of Assembly).

Jonathan had gone to cover the planned protest by youths of Ikot Abasi Obori community after he was informed by Miss Rachael Bassey, a youth leader in the community of the protest.

He said he was on phone with Rachael asking her what actually transpired when he discovered he had been surrounded by a group of nearly 20 people who began to hit and throw invectives at him.

In the process, his laptop bag was taken from me, the phone he used to take photographs at Ikot Abasi Obori, and an Infinix SMART 5, which he used in calling Ms. Rachael, was also snatched from him, a third device, a Redmi 10C was also confiscated by one of those who attacked him. His old CrossRiverWatch Identity Card and all the cash on him except a Fifty Naira note were also snatched.

The iPhone 6s which he said he uses as a backup device due to its slightly cracked screen was smashed on the road by someone who snatched it from his back pocket. In addition, his bag which contained a laptop was snatched from him and thrown on the road.

Jonathan has had to seek medical attention over the bruises and pains he sustained from the beating.