Published On: Mon, May 19th, 2014

Delta: Group Threatens Legal Action against Udu LGA Boss over Attack on Vanguard Photo-Journalist

Raymond Edijala

LAGOS MAY 19TH (URHOBOTODAY)—Ijaw Peoples’ Development Initiative, IPDI, has said that it will take legal action against the Transition Committee Chairman of Udu Local Government Area, Delta State, Mr. Raymond Edijala, who was joined by alleged thugs to assault Akpokona Omafuaire, Senior Vanguard Photographer on Saturday.
President of IPDI, Mr. Ozobo, in a statement in Warri, yesterday, described Edijala’s conduct as a “show of shame, shocking, condemnable, lawless and unexpected of someone of the status of a council boss.”
Ozobo said: “We are unhappy about the lawlessness of Edijala and his thugs. We shall join forces with others in ensuring that they are prosecuted.”

Edijala and his supporters, it will be recalled, assaulted Omafuaire during the environmental sanitation to rid Warri, Udu and Uvwie of filth and illegal structures on the orders of the state Special Sanitation Committee, of which the council boss is a member.
The incident which occurred in Ovwian community while the committee members were enforcing the special sanitation left Chief Frank Omare, Chairman of the committee injured on his foot, while he was rescuing the journalist from his attackers.
Omafuaire narrated, “I was in company of other journalists along with the committee’s leadership monitoring compliance with the exercise. At Udu, residents accused the council boss, Edijala, of selective demolition/removal of illegal property, a development which caused Omare to order that all illegal structures there be pulled down against the wishes of Edijala.
“As I chatted with a colleague acknowledging the state government’s determination to destroy all illegal structures, Edijala pounced on me, threatening, “Who are you? What are you saying? This is my council, get out of here now.”
“Before I could say a word, he called me idiot, foolish, started shoving me and shouting that I must go back and my efforts to explain myself fell on deaf ears. Next thing, he seized an iron rake, charging to hit it on my head when a colleague seized it from him, while his political thugs threatened killing me if they see me in Udu area again.
“Edijala boasted that he does not want to ever see me in Udu again as his boys pushed and hit me on the back while Chief Omare, who is also Delta Environment Commission, Chief Ben Igbakpa, his Transport counterpart and Chief Olori Magege as well as NUJ Warri Correspondent Chapel Chairman, Michael Ikeogwu, and others battled to rescue me from their holds.”
Reacting to the council boss’s action, Mr Ikeogwu and DBS NUJ Chairman, Mr Felix Eku, who witness the show of shame in a statement, said “We will take the issue up and pursue it to a logical conclusion because it was an unfortunate one, more so the threat that Omafuaire is not to be seen in Udu again. We will not fold our hands and allow this unwholesome attitude of Edijala to stand.
“Who knows what would have happened if Omare and others were not there? The thugs were ready to do harm just to please their master. We are really surprised that a council Chairman could display such unacceptable behaviour in the glare of thousands of people who were watching.”
Source: Vanguard

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