Published On: Sun, May 12th, 2024

Delta: NGOs Slam Journalists On Alleged Police Shooting Of Protesters In Ughelli


LAGOS MAY 12TH (NEWSRANGERS)-Members of the civil society groups in Delta state have picked hole in the media reports that some women protesting alleged police extortion in Ughelli on Tuesday were shot at by the police, noting that there was no iota of truth in the claim, as the police engaged the minimum riot dispersing rule when it became obvious that the peaceful protest had been hijacked by hoodlums.

Describing the media reports as false, baseless and unfounded, the civil society groups in a separate statements made available to newsmen, yesterday, admonished media practitioners in the state to desist from attempts at instigating crises with their sensational reports, urging them to get their facts correctly before dishing out information to the public.

In his statement, the National President, Committee For Defence Of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade (Dr) Prince Kehinde Taiga, said he was shocked on Tuesday evening when he read the media reports that some women who had embarked on a peaceful protest over alleged police extortions were shot by operatives under Ughelli Area Command and hospitalized.

According to him; “I could not imagine what prompted the decision to order the shooting of women so had embarked on a peaceful protest, so the next morning I called few of my Exco members and moved into Ughelli on a fact-finding mission before deciding our next line of action on the incident”.

“We were able to locate the hospital where these women were receiving treatment and when we spoke to them we realized some of them sustained some degree of injuries, ranging from bruises, deep cuts, dislocations and muscle strains which were sustained in the course of stampede from the tear-gas the police engaged in dispersing the crowd”.

From there, we also visited the Ughelli Area Command to ascertained what happened and there we realized that about three (3) vehicles belonging to some police officers parked outside the premises, has been vandalized by the protesters and one policeman already injured and those are enough indications that the peaceful protest had assumed a violent dimension and needed to be checked before it escalated further”.

“We, members of CDHR want to thank Delta state Commissioner of Police, CP Olufemi Abaniwonda, for his prompt response to the protest and visit to the community yesterday to reassure the Ughelli monarch of the safety of his people”, noting that the CP’s reaffirmation of his mandate to bring crime rates in all parts of the state to its barest minimum as further built confidence in the people.

“However, we must not lose sight of the fact that what led to the protest was alleged police extortions and we want to appeal to the policemen in the area to also be more professional in their dealings with the people, in order to avert a repeat of such protest in the community”, adding that the ugly incident could have been avoided if the policemen were carrying out their duties diligently”.

In his own statement, Chairman of South-South Professional & Transparency Initiatives (SSPTI), Dr. Ugochukwu Alozie, challenged the Journalists who did the reports to come out and substantiate their claims by showing one of the woman that was shot by the police during the protest they reported that police shot at women protesters.

He noted that the police only adopted the minimum rule of engagement in dispersing crowds during a violent protest by using tear- gas, adding that was the only alternative available to them when all the entreaties made to women to suspend the protest failed as it was already been hijacked by hoodlums who had wanted to raid and loot property of innocent citizens in the area.

He enjoined Journalists in the state to refrain from allowing their ethnic sentiments beclouded their sense of reasoning, especially when reporting sensitive issues that could easily trigger off violence and breakdown of law and orders in the state.

Earlier in his press statement, the Delta state Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) SP Bright Edafe, had also clarified that no protester was shot at the Police In Ughelli, insisting that it when the peaceful protest by the women was getting out of hand, as it had already been hijacked, that the police had to apply a little force in the use of tear gas in dispersing the crowd.

It would be recalled that scores of women from Oteri community In Ughelli North Local Government area had staged a peaceful protest on Tuesday to the Warri Area Command over alleged extortions and incessant harassment at the various checkpoints in their area.

They had alleged that due to this, the cost of transport in their community has gone up by over 500 percent in recent times, as driver now charges more to ply the route leading to their community as policemen were alleged to be extorting both the commercial vehicle drivers and tricycle operators, popularly known as Keke, as well as the commercial bike operators, known as Okada, plying their community.

Daily independent

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