Newspaper Vendors, Distribution Agents Protest Police Harassment

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Newspaper vendors and distribution agents in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on May 11, 2021 protested what they described as their incessant harassment by operatives of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of Police. They also embarked on a strike action, refusing to distribute newspapers for sale across the state.

On May 10, 2021, a detachment of gun-wielding operatives of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of Police had raided the No. 5 Rotibi Street, Douglas Road, Owerri newspapers distribution point, brualised the distribution agents and arrested no less than seven of them including arrested were NnamsoOkoro, Nelson Enyiama, Blessing Isinwa, OnyebuchiIwundu and Michael.

The distribution point was raided and the vendors and distributors were brutalized and arrested for circulating newspapers with stories of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

OnyebuchiIwundu who was later released on May 10, 2021 said the police operatives dehumanized him and his colleagues by slapping and beating them with the butt of their guns and tagging them IPOB terrorists. He said officers of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of Police accused them of selling newspapers that published stories on the proscribed IPOB.

Iwundu, said he had a broken hamstring resulting from the brutality on him and that he could no longer walk properly.

Lamenting his ordeal, he said, “One of the officers even collected my N800. I am looking for money for treatment. I really need some drugs.”