By Philip Dzeremo
The Benue Police Command has released a reporter of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Mr Emmanuel Antswen, who was picked up on Friday over a story on the protest at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp located at the International Market, Makurdi.
NAN recalled that the IDPs at the Makurdi International market camp had on Sept. 11 protested an alleged diversion of relief materials.
Following persistent protest over alleged diversion of relief materials by camp officials, the Executive Secretary of the Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Dr Boniface Ortese ordered the closure of IDP camps, alleging that they had been taken over by “hoodlums”.
NAN recalled that Ortese had petitioned NAN over the same story claiming N3 billion as damages while the agency insisted on the validity of the report.
Ortese had also claimed that the protests were instigated by the NAN reporter to enable him get a story to write.
The police released Antswen on Saturday at about 11 am after spending one night in the open cell at the state Criminal Investigation Department.
The chairman of the Benue State Council of Nigerian Union Journalists (NUJ) Mr Kris Atsaka, signed the bail papers for the release of Antswen.
In a solidarity visit with the NUJ over the journalists’ arrest, the Publisher of Daily Assets newspapers and a former Group Managing Director of Leadership Newspapers, Dr Cletus Akwaya, advised journalists to stand in defense of one another when in crises.
He commended the NUJ chairman for standing for his colleagues.