Policemen Attack BBC Journalist Covering IPOB Sit-at-Home Order

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On May 18, 2022, police officers attacked a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist who was covering the suspended sit-at-home order by the separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), at Cemetery Market in Aba, Abia State

The unidentified journalist was giving a live update during the BBC Igbo Facebook broadcast when the police operatives who were on routine patrol attacked him, accusing him of filming them.

The journalist was providing updates on the sit-at-home order in the South-east of Nigeria as well as on the court proceedings of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained IPOB leader.

In a video clip posted on Facebook by the BBC Igbo shortly after the incident, heavily armed police officers could be seen questioning the journalist.

One of the police officers shouted at him angrily: “Hey! Hey!! Stop there!!! Why are you videoing us?”

The journalist responded: “I am not videoing you people. This is BBC live.”

The officer ordered him to open the camera while another ordered that he should be held. The journalist was later arrested and released a few minutes later.

According to a programme anchor at the BBC studio, the police officers prevented the reporter from carrying out his work, adding that the reporter’s two mobile phone handsets were smashed despite telling them that he is a BBC reporter.

The Abia State police spokesperson, Geoffrey Ogbonna, denied that the officers brutalised the journalist. He, however, confirmed that the BBC journalist was arrested, but later released.

“Somebody like that was arrested, but the issue of brutalisation, I don’t think there was anything like that. He was arrested and then introduced himself and he was allowed to go,” Mr Ogbonna said.