Barely one month after LEADERSHIP Newspapers photojournalist, Mr Ben Uwalaka, was brutalised by mortuary attendants of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital for taking photos of the remains of victims of the Dana air crash, another reporter with the organisation was on Thursday evening assaulted by Nigerian Army personnel.
The incident which took place at Arthur Eze Avenue in Awka, the Anambra State capital had Mr. David-Chyddy Eleke, the correspondent of the newspaper Anambra State beaten up.
Mr Eleke, who has his cloth torn and his camera forcefully taken from him was bundled into a van and taken away by the army personnel.
LEADERSHIP WEEKEND gathered that trouble started when he asked a colleague, Mr Uzoma Nzeagwu of The Guardian Newspaper to take a shot of a bulldozer demolishing structures in the area. He barely had taken a shot when the army officers attached to the demolishing team charged at him, demanding his camera, even after he had introduced himself to them as a journalist.
LEADERSHIP WEEKEND further gathered that the soldiers were irked the more when Mr Eleke said he would not release the camera to them except he dropped dead, as it was his organisation’s property.
According to the photojournalist, he was barred by the soldiers from taking calls for his colleagues who heard of his arrest. He was however, lucky when journalists in the state mobilised in their number to the council secretariat to effect his release after being informed that he had been taken to Awka South Local Council Secretariat.
The chairman of Anambra State Council of NUJ, Mrs Toochukwu Udoji-Omelu, while addressing the chairman of Awka South LGA, Hon Ekene Okoye, said it would be the last time any journalist would be brutalized in the state, except those responsible are ready to face the wrath of journalists.
She said: “We have remained the best of friends with the government of this state, and to think that the same people can be responsible for the brutalisation of our member is the height of assault.