Newspaper vendors were arrested for promoting IPOB activities, says Police
The Rivers State Police Command says the newspaper vendors arrested at Oyigbo Local Government Area recently were using their stand to promote the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The State Police Public Relation Officer, Nnamdi Omoni told The Guardian that though the matter was being resolved but explained that the vendors allegedly dedicated their stand for meetings and discussions on IPOB activities.
He said the raid on the vendors stand was to dislodge them and avert imminent crisis in the area.Meanwhile, grieved by the action of the police, members of Newspaper Distributors Association of Nigeria in the state, downed tools as they staged a protest against alleged police harassment and constant intimidation.
The development delayed distribution and sales of newspapers in the state as distributions, which usually start between 6am to 9am, could not take place until 10am.
It took serious plea from the state command and the executive members of the body to convince the members who had earlier refused to distribute newspapers to resume activities.
Three vendors were arrested and detained by the state police command and N60,000 was allegedly demanded for their bail.Secretary to the association, Mr. Imoh Micha, expressed shock over the demand for the bail, querying what was wrong with vendors selling newspapers at Oyigbo junction. He dismissed alleged claim by the police that the vendors were promoting IPOB activities.
Micah explained that ideally, people gather at newspaper stands to discuss issues like sports and other national interest stories, adding that it was wrong for the police to carry out arrest just because people were discussing the IPOB issues at newspaper stand.
He, however, warned that the situation would be worse if nothing was done by those concerned in the business and if the event repeats itself. He called on the government, stakeholders in the business, civil society groups, and members of the public to intervene and called the police to order, and allow them to do their lawful business in peace.
In a similar development, the University of Port Harcourt has warned that its facilities are purely for academic purposes and not for Igbo day celebrations as alleged by some people.
The Deputy Registrar of the Institution, Mr. Williams Wodi, said the university knows nothing about the Igbo day activities.This is coming as youths in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the State threatened to stage a protest if the Institution allows the Igbo day to hold in the school premises. The youths argued that the move would further heighten IPOB crisis in the state.
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