The Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (I-CSPJ) has expressed deep concern and disapproval of the recent police invasion of ABN TV and the subsequent arrest of a guest during a live programme in Umuahia in Abia State on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.
According to field monitors from I-CSPJ, the police stormed the television station about 2.40 p.m. during the live programme “Youth Rendezvous,” with the intention of apprehending Mr. Udensi Donald, a guest on the show.
According to a statement from Melody Akinjiyan, Press Freedom Officer, I-CSPJ, obtained by Persecond News, the arrest was in response to a petition Donald’s older brother had submitted against him regarding a family dispute.
Despite the staff’s pleas to allow the programme to be concluded before making the arrest, the police insisted on taking the guest into custody while the show was still ongoing, as reported by the station’s director, Ifeanyi Okali.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, has condemned the action of the police, describing it as an excessive display of force.
“This provocative action by the police is simply an act of overzealousness, which was unnecessary. The officers could easily have waited for the live programme to end before swinging into action,” Arogundade stated.
“I-CSPJ is now urging Commissioner of Police, CP Kene Onwuemeile, to rectify the situation by re-evaluating the conduct of the officers involved and ensuring compensation for the damaged equipment during the invasion of the station.”
In addition, I-CSPJ demanded an official apology on behalf of ABN TV for the distress caused.