The police harass newspaper vendors and readers in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.
Since the weekend, policemen from the Aba Area Command have been arresting newspaper vendors and readers over reports on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
On Sunday, residents said there was tension at Ama-Ogbonna Junction in the commercial city when police raided the area.
Eyewitnesses report residents scampered for safety while police officers shot sporadically while conducting an arrest of a newspaper vendor and readers.
Vendors were accused of disseminating newspapers with articles regarding the sit-at-home order of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
One of the eyewitnesses, Dr. Elendu Ukoh, urged the state government and Igbo leaders to order the police authorities to rein in their men so as not to spark a crisis in the city.
“The kind of people we put in police today makes me wonder if we really want anything good to come out of this country called Nigeria. Today, how can anyone chase newspaper vendors around the streets of Aba?
Are you also going to stop people from reading the same stories on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram, among others, if you prohibit people from reading hard copies of newspapers? What kind of primitive policing is this?
On Sunday, they caused panic by shooting and making noise. All the neighbors thought they were chasing kidnappers. Later, we learned that police had come to arrest a vendor and readers, who had gathered in his newspaper stand. In what way can police be fighting newspaper vendors? There is no problem that paper can cause that social media cannot cause twenty times over. “These people are not normal,” he said.
According to Michael Anorue, another resident, almost all of the vendor stands he visited in Aba on Tuesday were empty.
Afterward, he said, “We only learned on Sunday and Saturday that the papers had stories about the sit-at-home order in honor of Biafran heroes, and I was wondering what was wrong with it?”
“The earliest politicians in South East should remind these reckless police officers that Biafra is more important than IPOB. What does the proscription of IPOB mean for Biafra?
We are all Biafran! On the 30th of May, the World Igbo Congress (WIC) held a zoom conversation on Biafran fallen heroes. Can’t the police go to YouTube, Zoom, and other social media that aired it? They only go to the streets and look for unnecessary trouble. “I wish those leaders in Igboland would warn those reckless police officers not to allow what’s going on in Imo State to spill over into Aba, because it would be the worst for everyone.
Geoffrey Ogbonna, Public Relations Officer of the Abia State Police (PPRO), denied that police arrested newspaper vendors and readers in Aba.