Journalist assaulted and arrested while covering elections in Rivers State

Police officers seized phone, deleted photos and beat reporter.

Journalist assaulted and arrested while covering elections in Rivers State

Gbenga Oloniniran, a reporter with The PUNCH, was arrested by a team of police officers near the residence of Governor Nyesom Wike in Rumuiprikon, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, on Saturday afternoon. Oloniniran was on election duty and was taking snapshots of a scene where police officers were arresting some youths at a polling unit when the operatives swooped on him.

The police officers, attached to the Swift Operation Squad, without listening to his explanation, seized his phone, assaulted him, and bundled him into their van. Even when he was in the van, they beat him and deleted several pictures he had previously taken, including those taken while he was being arrested.

The officers were heard saying, “Why are you capturing us? Who are you? What do you want to do? Come here, go inside the vehicle.” After the matter was reported to the Rivers state Police Command spokesperson, Grace Iringe-Koko, Oloniniran was released at the Rivers State University Junction in Port Harcourt.

It is essential for law enforcement officials to uphold the rights of the citizens they serve and protect, and assaulting and arresting journalists who are carrying out their duties is unacceptable. Journalists play an essential role in providing accurate and unbiased information to the public, and any attack on them undermines press freedom and democracy.

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