Akpan Etukudoh Asare
Policemen from the Cross River State police command Friday morning brutalise Mr. Edem Edem, a reporter with Daily Post online newspaper when he tried to take the picture of a man allegedly killed by men of the Department Of Public Transportation (DOPT), an agency of the Cross River State Government.
The policemen had descended on Edem, using the butts of their rifles on him even when his colleagues were pleading on his behalf that he was doing his job as a journalist.
They threatened other journalists at the scene who pleaded on Edem’s behalf.
They squeezed his hands and seized his android GSM phone, pen and notebook.
Numbering over 20 and armed to the teeth, they thundered, warning that no journalists was permitted to record the incident.
About one hour later, the items seized from him were returned following interventions from senior police and other security officers.
The brutalisation occurred opposite the NNS Victory, a naval complex, opposite the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar where the reporters had gone to witness an angry mob who were conveying the dead body of a young trader, killed by men of the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) Friday morning near the Calabar Post Office.
Another young man, a wheelbarrow pusher, was reported to have similarly been killed earlier in the week at Marian market.
Michael, the trader killed at the Post Office was a father of five children.
He was reported to have pleaded with the men who had confiscated his goods but according to witnesses, the men drove their hilux van and crushed him as he prostrated.
There was resultant reprisal attack by angry and armed traders, friends and neighbours who unleashed their anger on government properties and anything in sight as they proceeded with Michael’s corpse towards the governor’s office where the DOPT office is situated.
Detachments of policemen attached to the governor’s office as well as men from Special Anti-Cultism Squad had to intercept and block the mob before much harm was done.
Director General of the Agency, Godwin Nyiam said he was not well briefed about the incidents.
However, an official stated that they were on their routine enforcement against street traders when the incident occurred.
It would be recalled that following public anger against the agency in recent times over their heavy handedness and killing of motorists and other members of the public, the state House of Assembly had recommended that DOPT be outlawed because it does not even generate income to the state.
Akpan Etukudoh Asare