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Intimidation, harassment by Governor Wike’s Taskforce on Newspaper Vendors

….Vendors on indefinite strike in Rivers

….Angry reactions over detention of female Newspaper Vendor in Rivers, embark on indefinite strike

Ibrahim Bakare

Angry reactions trail the detention of a female Newspaper Vendor in Port Harcourt leading to Rivers State Newspapers Vendors in Rivers embarking on an indefinite strike.

They are protesting against the harassment, intimidation and eventually detention of a female Newspaper Vendor on the orders of a Mobile Court following her arrest by Taskforce on Street Trading and Illegal Motor Parks.

As result of their protest against the detention of their colleague, the vendors this morning, Thursday, refused to pick newspapers for display at street corners and sell.

The arrest and subsequent detention of the female vendor has elicited angry reaction from Journalists.

Anayo Onukugha, the immediate past Assistant Secretary of the Rivers State branch of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and Assistant Editor (Regional Editor, South-South) at Leadership Newspapers Group Limited, condemned the action pointing out that if newspapers are not sold, journalists won’t receive their salaries.

According to him, “All over the world, Newspapers Vendors are not treated like roadside or street traders, they are important to the society. In London, New York or Paris, newspapers are sold on the streets.

“I appeal to those concerned especially, Chairman of the Taskforce, Hon. Bright Amaewhule, to do the needful and ensure the release of the female Vendor and ensure that Newspaper Vendors are allowed to do their job as a critical stakeholders in the value chain of information dissemination”.

The issue has been buzzing online in her Facebook post one Deborah Ogolo said “I seriously advise that newspaper vendors be allowed to carry on with their sales. They don’t litter the streets with debris, neither do they occupy spaces on the road.

Nwibakpo Golden narrated his encounter with the members of the taskforce the boys harassed me yesterday at Eliozu.

“One of them jumped into a moving vehicle and the driver lost control and everybody was shouting for our safety.

I confronted them and their boys apologized but these guys were even threatening to fight me.

I suggest they should tag their names on their vest to recognize them because some are criminals.

For Elechee Owhoeke, the Taskforce should do the needful because they are becoming something else… Information is power… Doing so many are deprived of certain information.

Anayo Onukwugha, so sad it has gotten to this level but the lawlessness of our man didn’t start today but we all were silent when not affected.

Abraham Dukuma asked Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, to please call Mr. Martin Amaehule Chairman of the Taskforce and his colleagues to order.

For Lawson Parakom, a local publisher, the Taskforce leader and his co-travellers should be educated. Newspaper vendors are not Street Traders and they deserve dignified treatment and respect.


At time of filing this report, contacts were afoot to secure the release and also stop the harassment of Newspaper Vendors in Rivers State.

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