The Aba Newspapers and Magazines Distributors Association, a body of newspaper distributors and vendors, on Friday demonstrated peacefully against harassment, intimidation and arrest of its members by security operatives. The group, who said it was irked by the arrest of Mr. Anthony Acho, a 77 year old vendor, by the police, threatened to go on strike from Monday, June 6, 2021, if their member is not released by the Police.
They explained that Acho, a hypertensive patient, has been in police detention since Saturday, May 30, 2021, when he was arrested from his newspaper stand at Ama-Ogbonna, by operatives from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) from Eziama, in Aba North Local Government Area of Abia State. Mr. Ike.C.Ike, chairman of the Association, disclosed that Acho was arrested at his newspaper stand by men of SWAT operatives and has been in detention since Sunday. He said that all efforts made by them and his family to bail him has proved abortive, as the SWAT operatives are demanding for One-Hundred-Thousand Naira (N100,000) for his release.
The association therefore appealed to the Abia State Commissioner of Police and the State’s Commissioner of Information, to intervene and see to the release of their member. They observed that the clampdown of vendors, whose responsibility is to distribute hard copy newspapers to the public, is another form of gagging of the press.