Nigeria: Unlawful Police Raid on ABN TV/Radio Station Sparks Outrage in Abia State

Nigeria: Unlawful Police Raid on ABN TV/Radio Station Sparks Outrage in Abia State

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a disturbing turn of events on January 18, 2024, the Umuahia Police, attached to the Umuahia Area Command, reportedly invaded ABN TV/Radio station in Abia State. During a live programme, the officers arrested a guest, Mr. Udensi Donald, and caused extensive damage to equipment and property valued in millions of naira.

Director Ifeanyi Okali expressed concern over the invasion, emphasizing that the police claimed to act on a petition from Udensi Donald’s elder brother, Uche Onwuka Udensi, related to a family matter. Okali questioned the police’s lack of patience, suggesting that they could have waited for the programme to conclude before making an arrest.

Okali stated, “The overzealous policemen’s actions are provocative, reckless, and unprofessional, undermining the police-civil relations advocated by Commissioner of Police, CP Kene Onwuemeile. The invasion not only disrupted press freedom but also resulted in irreparable damage to our broadcast equipment.”

ABN TV/Radio demanded an open apology from the police, asserting that the attack had left them with substantial financial losses. They called for compensation and replacement of the damaged equipment.

Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Maureen Chinaka, assured that the Abia State Command is investigating the matter and emphasized that the appropriate action would be taken. The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) condemned the attack, urging ABN TV/Radio to pursue legal action against the police.

Prof. Charles Chinekezi, Chairman CLO, Aba Unit, Abia State, called the incident an assault on press freedom and democracy, demanding that the Inspector General of Police direct the Commissioner of Police in Abia State to arrest and prosecute the involved officers.

As the community awaits the outcome of the investigation, the incident raises serious questions about the protection of press freedom and the need for accountability within law enforcement agencies.

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