Lawmaker representing Afikpo South West state constituency, Nkemka Okoro Onuma, on Tuesday ordered his thugs and a civil defence officer whose name was yet to be identified at the time of filing this report to beat and lock up journalists who came to cover the screening of Commissioner nominees at the Ebonyi State House of Assembly.
Those beaten include reporter of the Nation Newspaper, Ogorchukwu Anioke, Nwafor Samson of the Oracle Newspaper and others who sustained injuries while fleeing to avoid being beating by the thugs.
The commotion started when the journalists approached the lawmaker to know why he dragged out one Mr. Stanley Okoro Emegha, one of the Commissioner nominees, while they were interviewing him.
One of the victims, Nwafor Samson who is the Secretary of Correspondents’ Chapel while narrating his ordeal said: “We were interviewing Mr. Stanley Okoro Emegha, one of the Commissioner nominees after screening when the lawmaker, Hon. Nkemka Okoro Emegha, came and dragged him out of our presence and moved him to his office. All of us were embarrassed.
“So, when they came out of his office, we decided to approach him to express our displeasure over the manner he dragged him out and he got infuriated and threatened to slap me”.
“I told him it has not got to the extent of slapping anybody but before we could know it, his thugs numbering about 20 descended on us. It was as if he came prepared to attack us.
“As the thugs were attacking us, the Lawmaker quickly moved back to the chambers to join the screening of remaining Commissioner nominees”.
“My self and Ogochukwu Anioke of The nation newspaper were injured during the attack and we lost our working tools during the process”
“The thugs also held Anioke hostage inside the Assembly premises by ordering the gateman to lock the gate as he made to drive out of the Assembly complex in Nkaliki road Abakaliki.
Also speaking Anioke said: “the lawmaker was shouting on top of his voice, his boys joined him and attacked one of us, Samson Nwafor and hit him very hard on his chest and he fell down.
“At this point I intervened and joined in separating the fight. The noise also attracted some Police Officers working in the Assembly who came and helped to restore calm. Later Mr Stanley Emegha came and pleaded with the journalists to forgive the lawmaker and the thugs who attacked them”, Anioke said.
He further narrated that at that point, one of the thugs who were with him came and started shouting again that the journalists can go and write whatever they wanted.
“He also threatened to beat us up and warned that we should leave the place. At that point, I became unconformable and made to enter my car but his boys came and held my car door and dragged me out. One of them came from the back and hit me on the back of my head while others joined in the beating.”
“I managed to extricate myself from them and entered my car, this time, the Commissioner nominee himself came and held my car door. I started the car nonetheless and drove off, forcing him and others with him to leave the door.
“But as I got to the gate, they told the gateman to lock the gate and not to allow me to leave. They swamped around my car and were trying to forcefully open it but they couldn’t. Some were hitting the glasses with their hands trying to break it. At that point, the Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr. Tony Nwizi came and told the security men to open the gate which they did and I managed to escape to safety,” he stated.
Attempt to speak with the lawmaker failed as he wouldn’t allow any journalist get close when the heat was on.
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