November 3, 2015

Soldiers assault journalist over right of way

Soldiers assault journalist over right of way

Aba—Unidentified soldiers have beat up Aba correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria, Ijendu Iheaka, over right of way.

Trouble started for Iheaka who was on his way to an assignment at Umuode area of the city when he came face to face with a group of soldiers in a patrol van, marked Army 014, at a muddy portion of the road, close to Winners Church, along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway.

He said: “I got to a muddy portion of the road and even waited for the coming vehicle to pass before stepping in to wade through the spot. The soldiers van came into the same portion when I had already gone half way.

‘’There was no safe place to make way for them to pass in the mud. Before I know what was happening, the driver started shouting, ‘waka, waka’, pointing his fingers at me while others came out and started beating me.

‘’They used the nozzle of their guns to hit my knees and tore my shirt. After they left, I couldn’t even walk, a good Samaritan assisted me to a tricycle which took me home. I have contacted the military authorities in Aba, they promised to investigate; yet nothing has come out of it.”

Iheaka told Vanguard that apart from the swollen knees and torn shirts, the soldiers would have inflicted more injuries on him but for passersby who pleaded that he should be left alone and later assisted to clean him up when his attackers had gone.

The journalist is yet to resume work as he is still nursing the injuries sustained in the attack.

At the time of filing this report, efforts to contact the Public Relations Officer of 14 Brigade, Ohafia, one Capt. Mbaneme, proved abortive as his lines were unavailable.

Reacting to the incident, chairman of Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, Aba Unit, Prof. Charles Chinekezi, condemned the attack and urged soldiers to be civil while going about their duties in the city.

Chinekezi appealed to the military authorities in the state to fish out the culprits and punish them to serve as a deterrent to others.