Officials of Delta State Taskforce on Environment on Wednesday, 1st April, 2020, attacked and assaulted the State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists,NUJ Delta Council Comrade Michael Ikeogwu as well as DAILY POST Correspondent, Matthew Omonigho, who were monitoring the level of compliance on the “Social distance” order of Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, with respect to the Corona-Virus pandemic at Otiotio Street in Uvwie Local Government Area.
The NUJ Chairman had approached the Environment Officials who had forced residents of Otiotio Street out of their houses to come out for environmental sanitation against the “Stay at home” order of the governor.
But the Environment Officials led by Kingsley Iweka ordered his team who were over twenty in number to pounce on the NUJ Chairman and DAILY POST Correspondent just as destroyed his Nikon D3100 photo-camera.
The Environment Taskforce Officials also held the NUJ Chairman,Comrade Ikeogwu and his colleague hostage for about 45minutes.However,it took the swift intervention of the State Chairman of the Environment Taskforce, Mr. Syvelster Oromoni to calm the nerves of his overzealous Officers through a telephone call.
In a chat with Our Correspondent, Comrade Ikeogwu said the lives of Journalists are not safe in the State.He wondered what will become of the ordinary man in the society if Government Officials could attack and assault him and his colleague even after identifying himself as the number one Journalist in the State.
Ikeogwu also decried the incident as uncalled for, unwarranted and condemnable wondering why the taskforce would be working contravention to the order of Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa.
“Today is not environmental sanitation. Why should a taskforce constituted for environmental sanitation come out on a day that people were asked to stay at home to enforce environmental sanition?”
Their order was further endangering the lives of the people as it contravenes the social order of the Governor. That was why I intervened to stop them from what they were doing. But they claimed that the order was from their Chairman.
“I am disappointed in the attitude of the leader of the team having after introduced myself to him who ordered his boys to attack me and my colleague. I wish to call on the State Governor to look into this matter because many people will fall victim of this before the end of the lockdown order.
“It was the residents of the area who called us to come and see what happening. How they were being forced to come and do environmental sanitation. However, I thank God it didn’t go beyond that. I go and treat myself because I was attacked.”
Some residents of the area who spoke after the altercation between the NUJ Chairman and the Taskforce condemned the acts.They said it was not environmental day just as they wondered why they were forced to come out for sanitation.One of the resident simply identified as Mohammed said,”We were forced out of our houses. If you say No, they will beat and arrest you. That’s why I came out like other people for the sanitation.
“LOCKDOWN: NUJ SUES FOR UNDERSTANDING OF SECURITY AGENCIES, CALLS ON MEMBERS TO CONDUCT SELVES PROFESSIONALLY
In a related development, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on security agencies in Delta State to show understanding with media practitioners as the lockdown on movement and activities takes effect midnight today.
In a statement by the Delta State Council of the NUJ, and endorsed by the Chairman, Michael Ikeogwu and Secretary, Churchill Oyowe, the council appealed for civility in the conduct of security agencies in their dealings with media practitioners.
While saying that both security agencies and media practitioners were partners in progress, the council called on journalists in the state to carry out their duties professionally and ensure not to get very close to suspected victims.
The council charged journalists to ensure that stories were confirmed before going to press and leave out unconfirmed ones.
It also reminded practitioners on the need to always arm themselves with valid identity card and be polite when they encounter security operatives, assuring the public that its members would help in dissemination of information that would keep them informed about events happening around the world.
It equally urged members of the public to ensure compliance with the stay- at-home order by the state government, saying it was meant in good faith to curtail the spread of the corona virus.The council appealed to the Delta State Government to look the way of media practitioners by providing protective equipment.
It commended the state government for efforts so far made towards curtailing the spread and for the proactive measures put in place in case the corona virus was found in the state.
Members are to call the following numbers in case of any emergency: 08033362580, 0806 226 9772.