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Published On: Sun, May 18th, 2014

Delta: Council Boss, His Thugs in Show of Shame…Beat Up Vanguard Journalist

Vanguard photo-journalist, Mr Akpokona Omafuaire being mand handled by Delta State LGA Boss

LAGOS MAY 18TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Vanguard Senior Photographer, Comrade Akpokona Omafuaire, on Saturday narrowly escaped death from the hands of the transition committee chairman of the Udu local government area, in the Delta State, Mr. Raymond Edijala and his thugs, when they threw caution to the winds and physically gave him the beating of his life.
The physical assault was witnessed by Journalists, and the state commissioner for Environment, Mr. Frank Omare. Several other persons witnessed the assault that occurred during the special environmental sanitation exercise by the state special sanitation committee at Ovwian community.
The severe attack, which lasted several minutes, took the intervention of the environment commissioner and Journalists, to save the life of Omafuaire, who was mercilessly beaten with clubs and other instruments.
In telling his story to SaharaReporters, Omafuaire, who is the secretary of the NUJ Warri Correspondents Chapel said, “I was in the company of other journalists, along with the committee leadership, to see the level of compliance, (and) when we got to Udu, residents were complaining that the council chairman (Edijala) was carrying out selective illegal caravan destruction and Omare ordered that all illegal structures there be pulled down against the wishes of Edijala.
“As I was chatting with a colleague that the state government is ready to crush all illegal structures, Edijala directed his attention on me heavily, with an objection saying, ‘who are you? What are you saying? This is my council, get out here now,” Omafuaire to a SaharaReporters correspondent.
“Before I could say Jack Robinson, he seized me, called me idiot, foolish, and shoved me, (saying) that I must go back, all my efforts to explain (what I was doing there) fell on deaf ears. Next thing I saw, he seized an iron rake, and made to shatter my head, a colleague seized it from him, and the next thing I saw, was his political thugs. (They) pounced on me severely, threatening that they will kill me if they see me in Udu again.
“Edijala boasted that he don’t want to ever see me in Udu again. At this point, the environment commissioner, Omare, his transportation counterpart, Mr. Ben Igbakpa, the chairman, waste management board, Comrade Olori Magege, and Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, NUJ Warri Chairman, and others, battled hard (with them) to extricate me from their holds. The timely intervention of Omare, military, journalists, and others (present) that saved me, as the thugs gathered to wreck havoc.” Omafuaire stated to us.
Meanwhile, the NUJ Warri Correspondents Chapel Chairman, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, and Comrade Felix Eku, DBS NUJ Chairman, in a joint statement, condemned in its entirety what the union described as (an) “unwarranted attack on its member.”
“We condemn the unwarranted attack on our colleague, who never did any harm, but was on lawful duty. It is unheard of that a council chairman, could condescend (and behave) to this level. We will take the issue up and pursue it to a logical conclusion, because it was an unfortunate one. Most especially, the threat that he should not be seen in Udu again. We will not fold our hands and allow this unwholesome attitude of Edijala to stand,” the statement read in part.
“Who knows what would have happened if Omare, and others, were not there? The thugs were ready to do any harm just to please their master. We are really surprised that a council chairman could display such unacceptable behavior, to the glare of thousands of people who were watching.”
It would be recalled that it was Edijala who is said to have been extorting money from an illegal structure of owners before the exercise, and had fought a member of the special sanitation committee last week, due to his selective handling of the removal of illegal structures.
As at the time of filing this report, Omafuaire had been taken to an undisclosed hospital for the treatment of his injuries sustained in the assault.
Source: Saharareporters

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