By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”The Federated Correspondentsâ€™ Chapel of the Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, has petitioned the state Commissioner of Police over the unlawful arrest of Mr. Oyins Egrenbido of Rhythm FM/Silverbird Television by Police from Bâ€™ Division, Yenagoa, last Sunday.
The chapel in a petition signed by Kola Oredipe and Samuel Ese, Chairman and Secretary respectively, described the alleged abduction of the Rhythm FM/Silverbird Television correspondent as flagrant abuse of his fundamental human rights and called on the state Police Commissioner, Elder Onuoha Udeka, to probe the incident that led to his arrest.
Mr. Egrenbido, according to the petition, was bundled into a waiting vehicle on Sunday, 16 May 2010 without a warrant of arrest, neither was the charge for which he was whisked away made known to him.
The embattled journalist did not know the identity of the men who whisked him away from his home until he was taken to â€˜Bâ€™ Division Headquarter at Ekeki, Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state when he then knew they were policemen.
The chapel disclosed that its member was gradually recovering from the psychological trauma as a result of the alleged abduction, adding that the manner in which the police conducted themselves constituted a threat to his life and an evidence of continued police harassment and intimidation of journalists all over Nigeria which runs contrary to the tenets of press freedom.
The petition read in part: â€œWe believe that the Police ought to display professionalism and always act in the interest of peace to protect the rights of citizens and also promote the rule of law which is guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution.â€
The Chapel equally informed the commissioner that the police action was engraved by the chairman of southern Ijaw Local Government Council, Mr. Timipa Oruminigha, through his Press Secretary, Mr. Ayebaitari Easterday, who incidentally is the State Treasurer of the Bayelsa State Council of the NUJ.
â€œThe Chapel is however, worried that a person of the State Treasurer could descend so low as to turn against his professional colleague because of personal interest. The union has resolved to also boycott all activities of the Local Government Area until a formal apology is tendered by the council authorities.
â€œThe Correspondents have also petitioned the state Chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Tarinyo Akono over the role of Mr. Easterday in the abduction of Mr. Egrenbido calling for strong disciplinary action against him,â€ the petition stated.