Police Bar Journalists from Covering Court Proceedings, Assault Them

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Chris Isiguzo
NUJ President

Armed operatives of the Nigerian Police on May 13, 2022 barred journalists from covering the trial of a federal lawmaker and Rivers State governorship aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Farah Dagogo, at the premises of the Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt. The Police also harassed and assaulted the journalists at the court premises.

The Police also threatened to confiscate their work tools should the journalists disobey the directive not to cover the trial.

The Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Government House, Chief Emeka Nwoke, has also reportedly threatened to shut down Rhythm 93.7 FM, a private radio station in Port Harcourt over its coverage of the trial.

The journalists assaulted, harassed and intimidated were Anita Ogona, Allwell Ene of Naija FM; Ayo Odungweru of Wave FM, Chiweta Nwagbara of Love FM, Soibi Oruwari of Nigeria Info, and Monica Ogwa and Chuks Nweke of Rhythm FM.

A female journalist with the East-West Reporters, Anita Ogonna, who was assaulted by the police recounted that she was hit with the butt of a gun and she sustained injuries as a result.

The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Rivers State Branch has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to investigate the assault.