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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has demanded an investigation into the arrest of newspaper vendors in Owerri, Imo State over allegations of promoting activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, had stated that the operatives were not from Imo command.
It was later revealed that the Inspector-General of Police led Intelligent Response Team (IRT) carried out the operation.
One of the arrested vendors, Onyebuchi Iwundu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at a police station that the IRT operatives picked them on Monday at Rotibi Street, off the Douglas Road.
Imo NUJ Chairman and Secretary, Chris Akaronye and Juliet Dim, decried the ‘Gestapo’ manner of the arrest in a statement on Tuesday.
They said their investigation revealed that the state Police Command and Directorate of State Services (DSS) had no prior knowledge about the arrest.
The union described as embarrassing, the invasion of the state and arbitrary arrest of innocent residents doing their legitimate businesses.
NUJ advised that measures be taken to quell rather than aggravate the current tension in the state and the series of attacks by bandits.
The statement said Nigeria has sufficient provisions to take care of any infractions, with regards to publications that are likely to breach public peace and security.
‘Such perceived infractions should be properly handled by courts of competent jurisdiction and not resorting to a Gestapo style of invasion and arrest,’ it said.
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