BEVERLY HILLS, May 10, (THEWILL) – Operatives of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police have arrested over seven newspaper vendors and distribution agents in Imo State.
The operatives swooped on them on Monday morning at their base located at Number 5, Rotibi Street, Douglas Road, Owerri, as the circulation of the day’s newspapers was ongoing.
Other vendors and distribution agents, who ran away, told Journalists that the gun-wielding police operatives accused them of circulating newspaper publications that had stories on the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and that were “anti-state.”
One of the vendors who escaped the arrest said “as we were circulating our newspapers for the Monday edition, policemen putting on jackets that had IRT inscription swooped on us and started arresting us. The ones they took away were the ones that had newspapers that had IPOB stories and the ones they said were against the government.”
Some of the vendors and distribution agents arrested by the IGP’s team are Nnamso Okoro, Nelson Enyiama, Blessing Isinwa, Onyebuchi Iwundu, and Michael.
THEWILL recalls that the State Circulation Manager of the New Telegraph newspapers, Chuks Ugwuibe, is still being held in an undisclosed security facility after he was arrested in Orlu on Tuesday last week by the security operatives while undertaking his weekly returns from vendors.
The arrest of the newspaper vendors and distribution agents elicited reactions as residents of the state asked the government to stop clamping down on Press Freedom.
The arrest also affected newspaper circulation in the state on Monday as the other vendors and distribution agents fled over fear of being arrested.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abutu Yaro, said that the operatives were not from his command.