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Police arrest, manhandle journalists, others in Calabar during protests

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Police in Cross River State has arrested some persons, including the correspondent of The Nation newspaper, Nicholas Kalu, for covering the RevolutionNow protests at the Cultural Centre in Calabar.

The managing editor of an online medium, CrossRiverWatch, was also arrested alongside some members of African Action Congress (AAC).

Earlier, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Igri Ewa, had denied arrest of the journalists and others, but the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Austin Agbolahor, later told journalists that some persons were arrested and an investigation was ongoing.

It was gathered that the journalists were arrested in the line of duty about 9 a.m. as they were covering members of the RevolutionNow that had gathered at the cultural centre by Mary Slessor to commence the protest.

Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, Mr. Victor Udu, condemned the arrest of the journalists in the line of duty.

Former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, has condemned the Federal Government for arresting convener of the protests, Omoyele Sowore, arguing that every Nigerian has the constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully in a democracy.

According to him, it is not an act of treason to march against the president and to protest against the insecurity in the country.

His words: “The publisher of Sahara Reporters and a presidential candidate in the just-concluded presidential elections simply expressed his desire to demonstrate peacefully against President Muhammadu Buhari and his government, which he chose to call a ‘revolution’ to emphasise his zeal and the importance of the event.”

Fani-Kayode emphasised that Sowore had no arms and had not threatened to conduct an armed struggle, “so this can only be a ‘revolution’ in name and by words.”

He wondered why the Buhari-led government always targeted those that could not fight back, did not threaten the peace and that did not carry arms while allowing notorious criminals to walk freely.


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