On February 14, 2018, Mr. Samuel Ayara, a reporter with the Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation who covers the State House of Assembly, was assaulted by policemen in the complex.
Mr. Ayara was sprayed with tear gas and other policemen gathered round him and collectively hit him, including by using the butts of their guns.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr. Ayara said: “I was going round the offices of some of lawmakers at about 12.30pm to interact with their wives who came to celebrate Valentine with their husbands. When I was in front of the office of the member representing Ikot Abasi State constituency, Mr. Uduak Udoudo, one of his security details shouted at me saying, ‘Who are you and where do you think you are going to?’
“I asked him why he yelled at me and if that was how he addressed people. Almost immediately, policemen numbering about 10 gathered around me and started beating me. Some hit me with the butts of their guns and another released a tear gas canister on my face.
“Afterwards, none of the policemen apologised to me. I am an asthmatic patient and the tear gas is dangerous to my health.”
Mr. Patrick Albert, the state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) condemned the assault promising to investigate the matter and meet with the Speaker on the issue.
He added, “We cannot continue to condone a situation where our members are constantly molested while carrying out their duties.”