Police invaded TV station, arrest guest, destroy equipment

The Inspector General of Police, Ag. IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun

Police invaded TV station, arrest guest, destroy equipment

The Police in Umuahia, Abia State, have invaded a broadcast facility, identified as ABN TV/Radio station, and arrested a guest, during a live programme at the studio.

The police, who were said to be attached to the Umuahia Area Command, allegedly destroyed equipment and other property worth millions of naira at the station.

Director of TV/radio station, Ifeanyi Okali, told Vanguard that the Police claimed that they came to arrest a guest, Udensi Donald, who was on a live programme at the station, following a petition written against him by his elder brother, Uche Onwuka Udensi, over a family matter.

Okali stated that he was worried about the invasion, as the police could have waited for the guest and arrested him after his exit from the station.

He said: “We are worried by the invasion of our broadcast station in Umuahia by the Nigerian Police. The policemen said they were from the Umuahia Area Command. We are worried that our police have no regard for laws and professionalism and wonder that policemen could still invade a private broadcast station and disrupt a live programme.

“The policemen said they came to arrest our guest, one Mr. Udensi Donald, who was on a live programme.
“They claimed that a senior brother to the guest, one Uche Onwuka Udensi, had written a petition against him, over a family matter. Several pleas by our staff to allow the programme to come to an end before the guest could be arrested were not heeded. They invaded the studio and arrested him, while the live programme was ongoing.

“We find this act by the overzealous policemen provocative, reckless, and unprofessional. It also negates the enhanced police-civil relations that the Commissioner of Police, CP Kene Onwuemeile has consistently advocated for. It is shameful that the policemen even barricaded the door and harassed, intimidated, and threatened to detain our staff.

“We also want to put on record, that during the Gestapo arrest, many of our broadcast equipment including laptops, cameras, microphones, and midgets were damaged beyond repair. We find this as an attack on press freedom and human rights. We are also calling for compensation for the affected equipment.

“From all indications, the policemen were not properly schooled on best approaches to relate with the civil populace in a democratic environment where the media plays a key role in enhancing their relations with the generality of the society.”

The station further demanded an apology and compensation from the police over its damaged equipment.
“ABN TV/Radio demands an open apology from the Police in Abia over this unprovoked attack on our station. The attack has left us with huge financial losses following the damage to our equipment. We are also calling for the replacement of the affected equipment.”

Contacted, Police Public Relations Officer,Abia State Command,ASP Maureen Chinaka, told Vanguard that the state command is currently investigating the matter and assured that the right action will be taken.

She said; “We are currently investigating the situation in the video. Be rest assured that this situation will be properly handled and the right action will be taken. We urge the public to remain calm.”

CLO reacts, calls for legal action against Police

Reacting to the incident,the Civil Liberties Organization, CLO,has condemned the attack on the station and asked ABN TV/Radio station to take a legal action against the Police.

Chairman CLO, Aba Unit,Abia State, Prof.Charles Chinekezi, told Vanguard that the incident is an attack on press freedom and democracy, wondering why the Police team couldn’t wait for the guest to conclude the programme before arresting him.

He called on the Inspector General of Police to direct the Commissioner of Police in Abia State to arrest and prosecute the policemen who were involved in the incident.

He said; “This is a return to the dark days of attack on press freedom and democracy. It is authoritarian, reckless , shameful and an embarrassment to modern day policing. The broadcast station should not hesitate to take legal action against the police.”

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