By Ofofonono Emmanuel
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council, Saturday, kicked against the attempt to arrest the Editor of The Mail Newspaper, Ifreke Nsewo, by operatives of the state police command.
The Mail is one of the most authoritative local newspapers in Akwa Ibom and has won several local and national awards for its investigative reports.
It’s editor and top staff have ways been hunted by both state and non-state actors who are uncomfortable with the newspaper’s editorial bent.
But the NUJ in a statement made available to Guardpost.ng said a newspaper distributor, Chidi Ngadiubia, was arrested when Mr. Nsewo went underground.
Mr. Ngadiubia, who was arrested on Friday is said to have been detained at the state police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.
“It was gathered that Nsewo had received a call from a lady, who asked him to come for an advertorial, but he ( Nsewo) directed her to Ngadiubia.
“While the NUJ is not against the police arresting any member of the union who has contravened the law, it is quick to point out that it must follow due process of the law.
“In the case of the current plot to arrest Nseowo, the union insists that the right thing would be to invite him to the police station, where he would be informed of the allegations against him, instead of the crude tactics of arresting Ndagiubia, in lieu of Nseowo,” the union stated
It, however, insisted that if the attempt to arrest Mr. Nseowo is connected to any story published in his newspaper, the aggrieved party should seek redress in the court of law.
The union also added that if an alleged publication has criminal content, Mr. Nseowo should be invited, instead of the frantic attempts to take him into custody like a common criminal.
The union called for an immediate release of Mr. Ndagiubia as the new Akwa Ibom State Justice Administration Law, is against such practice.
It also promised to defend journalists in the state from harassment in the line duty at all times.
The NUJ’s statement was jointly signed by the state Chairman, Amos Etuk and Secretary, Dominic Akpan.