Police vs Motorcyclists: Hoodlums Vandalize Properties in NTA
As Management, NUJ say mob action is misplaced aggression
By Ekemini Simon
The last may not have been heard over the disaster caused by yesterday’s protest by motorcyclists in Uyo as Nigerian Television Authority, Channel 12 Uyo has fallen victim to the crisis.
The police had arrested motorcyclists yesterday over what they described as enforcement of the directive by the State government that motorcycles should not ply major roads. This had led to the death of one of the motorcyclists, a development that had angered them into protest.
Hoodlums believed to have hijacked the protest had gone on rampage at the broadcast establishment vandalizing properties, and burning vehicles of the Federal Government Owned media establishment.
This reporter who went on the spot assessment of the level of vandalism done noticed a saloon car burnt to ashes, a bus, security post and electronic signpost burnt with windows, doors of the offices and chapel destroyed.
This reporter noticed some staff of the Nigerian Television Authority who said they sustained injury in the process of running for their dear lives.
Briefing newsmen, the General Manager of NTA, Channel 12, Uyo, Mr Ohifeme Aigbochie narrated that the Public Relations Officer of the media organization on sighting the protesters at NTA gate had believed they wanted the press to cover their protest and had reported same to him.
He said before he could draw the attention of the Manager News, the security post was already on fire hence they had to alert the police which he said came after an hour.
The C Division of the Nigerian Police Force and the Headquarters of Nigerian Police Force, Akwa Ibom State Command is a stone throw from NTA.
The NTA General Manager however noted that later in the evening, around 6pm, the Police Commissioner visited and report to them that about 20 suspects were arrested with assurance that they will be brought to book.
Aigbochie added ” We thank God that no life was lost and our transmitter is not affected. What happened was out of ignorance and it is a misplaced aggression. We have no business with the directive the governor had given. So why transfer the aggression to us”.
The GM stressed that he is convinced the hoodlum did not visit the premises in need for coverage since they were already with petrol and dangerous weapons.
He expressed optimism that since the State Commissioner for Information had visited, they are rest assured that he will detail the governor about the level of damage in expectation of adequate remedy to the broadcast station.
In a reaction to the development, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Amos Etuk condemned the incidence.
He advised that media organizations should not be misplaced as enemies of the people rather should be seen as the voice of the people and machineries of development.
He said the aggression against NTA was unnecessary and expressed optimism in the culprits being brought to book.