By Mike Odiegwu, and Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt
Nine journalists from various media houses have escaped death in their line of duty following an attack by hoodlums, allegedly aided by policemen.
The journalists, who fled with various degrees of injuries, however, lost all their working tools including high calibre video cameras to their attackers.
It was learnt that the incident took place on April 27 at Rumuagholu community located along the Airport Road, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
The victims representing the Sweet Crude Newspaper, Silverbird Television/Rhythm 93.7Fm, Arise TV, Sahara Reporters, Wish FM, Today’s FM, RSTV, Atlantic TV were invited for a press briefing by the king and chiefs of Rumuagholu when the incident occurred.
Items snatched from the journalists were nine smartphones , two HDV cameras, recorders, a keep-fit activity wrist watch worth N35,000, money and other valuables said to collectively worth over N2m.
The thugs reportedly hit a knee of one of the victims, Favour Udoma, a correspondent for Sweet Crude newspaper and dislocated it.
Narrating their ordeal, Udoma said: “On 27th April, 2021, some journalists nine in number were invited for a press briefing by the king and chiefs of Rumuagholu community located Along the Airport Road in Obio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“While waiting for the commencement of the briefing ,some hoodlums in company with operatives of the anti-cultism unit of the Nigerian Police Force, Rivers State Command attacked and inflicted bodily injuries on the journalists who were at the venue, stripping them of their valuables.
“Two reporters, were arrested by the police in company with the hoodlums to the state CID but for self recognition and intervention of the Police Public Relations Officer SP Nnamdi Omoni and other journalists they were bailed. While at the state CID an entry was made on the matter.
“The hoodlums arrived in two police Hilux vans, two buses, and three tricycle (keke napep) all filled with boys chanting their occult songs.
“The police were present when the hoodlums attacked us and since we wrote our statement, the police have not deemed it necessary to investigate the matter and retrieve our stolen valuables.
“What we need is justice to be served so that perpetrators of the act and their sponsors should be brought to book. No member of the host community was attacked. Only the journalists, who were at the press briefing were mishandled.”
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Rivers State Council, condemned the attack describing it as unfortunate, barbaric and criminal.