Police Arrest Newspaper Reporter for Taking Pictures During Election

Mr. Gbenga Oloniniran
Reporter, The Punch newspaper

On February 25, 2023, Mr. Gbenga Oloniniran, a reporter with The Punch newspaper was arrested by a team of policemen near the residence of Governor Nyesom Wike in Rumuiprikon, Port Harcourt in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State for taking picture of election scenes.

Gbenga, who was on election duty, was taking snapshots of a scene where policemen were arresting some youths at a polling unit when they saw him taking pictures and then swooped on him. One of the policemen pointed a gun at the reporter who instinctively prostrated on the ground

The policemen, attached to the Swift Operation Squad, asked him: “Why are you capturing us? Who are you? What do you want to do?” “Come here, go inside the vehicle,” they ordered the reporter. They seized his phone, assaulted him and bundled him into their van. They continued to beat the reporter while in the van even as they deleted several pictures he had previously taken, including those taken while he was being arrested.

The reporter was released at the Rivers State University, Junction in Port Harcourt after the matter had been reported to the Rivers state Police Command spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko.

Speaking with our correspondent after his release, Oloniniran said he was brutalised by police officers at a polling unit close to where the incumbent governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, voted earlier.

The journalist said he was arrested for recording the moment some police officers were harassing a male voter at the polling unit.