Politicians, Thugs Attack Journalists Covering Screening of Commissioner-Nominees

Nkemka Onuma
Nkemka Onuma

On July 30, 2019, Mr. Nkemka Onuma, a lawmaker representing Afikpo South West Constituency at the Ebonyi State House of Assembly; Stanley Okoro Emegha, a Commissioner-nominee; and thugs reportedly engaged by them attacked some journalists covering the screening of commissioner-nominees at the State House of Assembly complex in Abakaliki, the capital.

In addition, they held one of the journalists hostage inside the Assembly premise, instructing the gateman to lock the gate against him and prevent him from getting out.

The attack occurred while some journalists were trying to interview Emegha, whose academic documents were found to be fraught with irregularities.

Narrating the incident, Ogochukwu Anioke, the State Correspondent of The Nation Newspaper and one of the journalists who was assaulted, said when he saw the lawmaker arguing with some journalists who confronted him for trying to stop them from interviewing the Commissioner-nominee after the screening he approached the scene to broker peace but the two politicians swooped on them with their thugs, inflicting injuries on them.

Ogochukwu added that while the lawmaker was shouting on top of his voice, his boys joined him to attack Samson Nwafor of the Nigerian Pilot Newspapers, hitting him very hard on his chest and he fell down.

One of the thugs dared the journalists to go and write whatever they wanted. He further threatened to beat up the journalists warning them to leave the Assembly premises.

Ogochukwu reported that when he made to enter his vehicle, the thugs prevented him and dragged him out. He said: “One of them came from behind and hit me on the back of my head while others joined in the beating. He managed to enter his car and drove off to escape the assault.

The timely intervention of the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr. Tony Nwizi, saved Ogochukwu from further assault when the gates of the Assembly complex was locked and the politician and his thugs made to continue their attack on him.