-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):
Officials of Delta State Taskforce on Environment on Wednesday attacked and assaulted the State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Delta Council, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu as well as DAILY POST Correspondent, Matthew Omonigho who were monitoring the level of compliance on the “Social distance” order of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa with respect to the Corona-Virus pandemic at Otiotio Street in Uvwie Local Government Area.
The NUJ Chairman had approached the Environment Officials who had forced residents of Otiotio Street out of their houses to come out for environmental sanitation against the “Stay at home” order of the governor.
But the Environment Officials who were over twenty in number pounced on the NUJ Chairman and DAILY POST Correspondent just as they destroyed his Nikon D3100 photo-camera.
The Environment Taskforce Officials also held the NUJ Chairman,Comrade Ikeogwu and his colleague hostage for about 45 minutes.
However,it took the swift intervention of the State Chairman of the Environment Taskforce, Mr. Syvelster Oromoni to calm the nerves of his overzealous Officers through a telephone call.
In a chat with our Correspondent, Comrade Ikeogwu said the lives of Journalists are not safe in the State.
He wondered what will become of the ordinary man in the society if Government Officials could attack and assault him and his colleague even after identifying himself as the number one Journalist in the State.
Ikeogwu also decried the incident as uncalled for, unwarranted and condemnable wondering why the taskforce would be working in contravention to the order of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
“Today is not environmental sanitation. Why should a taskforce constituted for environmental sanitation come out on a day that people were asked to stay at home to enforce environmental sanitation?
” Their order was further endangering the lives of the people as it contravenes the social order of the Governor. That was why I intervened to stop them from what they were doing. But they claimed that the order was from their Chairman.
“I am disappointed in the attitude of the leader of the team having after introducing myself to him, ordered his boys to attack me and my colleague. I wish to call on the State Governor to look into this matter because many people will fall victim of this before the end of the lockdown order.
“It was the residents of the area who called us to come and see what was happening. How they were being forced to come and do environmental sanitation. However, I thank God it didn’t go beyond that. I will go and treat myself because I was attacked.”
Some residents of the area who spoke after the altercation between the NUJ Chairman and the Taskforce condemned the acts.
They said it was not environmental day just as they wondered why they were forced to come out for sanitation.
One of the residents simply identified as Mohammed said,”We were forced out of our houses. If you say No, they will beat and arrest you. That’s why I came out like other people for the sanitation. “