The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Delta State chapter, has placed a ban on the coverage of all police activities in the state over the unwarranted attack and brutalisation of Vanguard correspondent, Akpokona Omafuaire.
The journalist was brutalised by police officers at Ovwian-Aladja Police Station, Udu Local Government Area, on Friday despite identifying himself as a media practitioner.
“I was driving out of Ighodakpo Street in Ekete when the police attacked me, saying that no one was allowed near that area. I parked to show my identity card but as I made it near them, they descended on me with cutlasses and guns, cutting and whipping me, cutting my car, shattering the lights,” the journalist said as he narrated his encounter with the police.
Reacting to the issue, Michael Ikeogwu, NUJ Chairman in the state, Patrick Ochei, Secretary, decried that the police were insensitive to the plight of the journalist.
The NUJ said while the brutalisation of journalists was not new in Delta State, the union could no longer watch members being molested, beaten, harassed, brutalised, intimidated and detained.
The union therefore directed journalists to blacklist the police in all of its reportage.
"Right now we are calling on our members in the Council to stop attending police press briefings, stop using their press releases, stop covering their activities or taking interviews from them henceforth.
“We are in support of the victim seeking redress in court, and we will join him to get justice.
“The PPRO whose office it is to coordinate police relationship with the media has shown disdain and no concern to the frequent harassment, intimidation and brutalization of journalists in the State,” the NUJ said.
The union is demanding the removal of the DPO of Owvian Aladja Police Division for gross incompetence, adding that the police hierarchy should fish out Sergeant Godspower and cohorts for carrying out the attack.
The NUJ added that it was ready to maintain working synergy and cordial relationship with the police if they were ready to do so.
“However, we are not ready to bury any of our members who will die from police brutality before the police will learn how to deal with journalists.
“We reiterate that the ban on coverage of police activities takes immediate effect and any member of the union who flouts this order will face disciplinary action from the council,” the NUJ added.