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Charles Otu, reporter for "The Guardian Nigeria", attacked by armed thugs

A man looks at a copy of
A man looks at a copy of "The Guardian Nigeria" newspaper in Abuja, 20 May 2016

REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

This statement was originally published on mediarightsagenda.net on 6 June 2017.

At about 6pm on June 3, 2017, Mr. Charles Otu, the Ebonyi State correspondent of the Guardian newspaper was accosted at Vanco Junction in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, by armed men suspected to be political thugs who beat him mercilessly with clubs and other weapons.

According to the journalist, the thugs who accosted and assaulted him at the Vanco Junction got there in a 16-seater Toyota bus with the inscription of Ekubaraoha Youth Assembly.

Mr. Otu said his assailants later drove him to the 'Ebonyi Cabinet Office' where they asked him to sign an undertaking never to write any story against the state government or he would be silenced permanently.

He said the thugs thereafter drove him to the Kpirikpiri Divisional Police Headquarters.

Narrating his ordeal further, he said "They accused me of being a threat to the state government and threatened to silence me unless I signed a written undertaking never to write anything against the state government."

He said he collapsed at the police station and lost consciousness due to the severe beating they gave him but that he was revived at the emergency ward of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.

The Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer, Jude Madu, a deputy superintendent of police confirmed the incident, adding that the police have launched an investigation to unravel the motive behind it.

The Ebonyi State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) condemned the attack and called on security agencies in the State to rise up to the challenge.

She lamented that unprovoked attacks on journalists were inimical to the development of democracy and also threatened press freedom.

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