Some journalists in Imo state on Wednesday took to the streets of Owerri, the state capital, protesting against incessant attacks on members of the profession by some politicians in the state.
The protest, according to report, was led by Kelechi Ugo who is the weekend editor of EDGE EXPRESS newspapers in Imo state.
Our correspondent in the state reported that the journalists numbering up to fifty stormed the state House of Assembly complex, demanding that the speaker, Chiji Collins addresses the issue of the member representing Obowo state constituency, Kennedy Ibeh whose aides recently beat up a journalist, Finian Chuks.
Kelechi Ugo, in his reaction, insisted that the trend must be discouraged or the profession will be ridiculed and left without value.
“We are protesting today because we are not happy the way some politicians treat us. A few days ago, a journalist was brutally attacked by aides working for the member representing Obowo state constituency, Kennedy Ibeh. Who knows whose turn it is tomorrow. Journalists are no longer safe discharging their duties.”
“This is not the first nor the second time journalists are being manhandled in the state. We will not take that anymore. Enough is enough!”
“Meanwhile, we demand that Kennedy Ibeh be suspended until disciplinary actions are taken against him.”
Addressing the protesting journalists, the member representing Oru-west state constituency, Dominic Ezerioha alongside his Nkwerre and Isu counterparts, Obinna Okwara and Ngozi Obiefule, said that they have taken a lawful path by reporting to the Assembly rather than spoiling for war.
Ezerioha who is the House Committee Chairman on Information and Judiciary, however, promised to carry their message to the speaker, asking them to expect feedback in two weeks’ time.
The protesters displayed placards with inscriptions such as ‘suspend Obowo lawmaker now!’, ‘journalists are no longer safe in Imo,’ ‘Kennedy Ibeh, stop brutalizing journalists,’ among others.
It will be recalled that Finian Chuks at the Imo state APC last week was beaten by aides attached to the office of the member representing Obowo state constituency, Kennedy Ibeh over an alleged publication that accused the lawmaker of instigating the speaker’s certificate scandal.
According to reports, the victim is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in Owerri.
Efforts to reach the lawmaker as at the time of filing this report proved abortive.