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Friday, 27 November 2015

How Thugs Rain Blows On Journalists, Vandalize Their Vehicles

Eight correspondents of different national media organizations on Thursday escaped death by the whiskers when they were attacked and lynched by over seventy thugs at Okpai community in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State.
Felix Igbekoyi (Daily Independent), Paul Osuyi (Sun), Dominic Adewole (New Telegraph), Okungbowa Aiwerie (Nation), Ochuko Akuopha (Vanguard), Charles Shola (Rainbow), Vincent Anikwushe (The Pointer) and Cyril Obi (DBS, Asaba).
They were beaten by the thugs who also dispossessed them of their possessions including four laptops, two iPads, two phones, two handsets, three digital recorders, one Sony Video Z1 Camera and undisclosed amount of money.
The victims had got wind of a peaceful protest by Ase-Omoku community against an oil exploration company, Sterling Global Oil Service over alleged breaches of the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with the community, and mobilized to provide publicity.
Driver of the vehicle (a Toyota Picnic with registration number FST 447 CY) was not spared of the beating by the thugs who vandalized the vehicle and threatened to set it ablaze.
Trouble started when a section of the youths intercepted the vehicle of the journalists at IPP junction, Okpai, ordered them out and made them to sit on the ground for several hours while mobilizing their colleagues to the scene.
Explanation by the journalists on their mission fell on deaf ears as the thugs started humiliating them while making calls to the Deputy Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Mr.Friday Osanebi who represents Ndokwa East at the House.
After a while, some leaders of the thugs pleaded with their colleagues to release the victims in the ground that Mr. Osanebi had already intervened. They forced the journalists into their car, asking them to reverse and forget the mission.
But just about two kilometers from the IPP junction, three of the thugs who apparently armed waylaid the vehicle, hijacked it and led the journalists into the beating arms of another set of thugs who had blocked the road with about 40 motorcycles of different brands.
It was at this point that beating was intensified as the thugs, some of whom were armed, forced the victims out the car for serious pummeling with various weapons at their disposal.
They removed the victims’ belongings and vandalized the vehicle despite pleas from the victims that they were harmlessly doing their job to bring the plight of the community to limelight.
In the ensuing melee, some of the leaders of the youth from Okpai arrived and intervened in attempt to bring the situation under control. They denounced the second group after sanity was restored, saying that the second group was from Beneku community, the hometown of the Deputy Speaker.
One of thugs who held a rifle was about shooting when his colleagues prevailed on him to stop on the ground that the sound of the gun would attract soldiers who had mounted a checkpoint some distance away.
Meanwhile, one of the victims, Mr. Igbekoyi of Daily Independent managed to escape from the scene to the checkpoint to report the situation to the security operatives who mobilized to the scene.
But before they got to the scene, the thugs disappeared still with blood in their eyes with the intent to further mobilize for another round of attack after the Army checkpoint.
At this point, the victims became very scared and insisted on sitting put at the Army checkpoint until they were escorted out of the community by the security operatives which proved to be case as they were escorted to Ashaka junction by the soldiers

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