The soldiers who participated in the assault on journalists in Umuahia today, Tuesday, will face disciplinary actions for their “unfortunate” misconduct, the Nigerian Army has said.
At least two journalists were reportedly assaulted by troops in the Abia State capital in the afternoon. The soldiers accused the journalists of filming them as they rode by the state secretariat of Nigerian Union of Journalists.
The journalists said the troops smashed their mobile phones and other electronic devices during the incident, which occurred when the soldiers were allegedly trying to barricade the residence of separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The soldiers also clashed with supporters of Mr. Kanu as they attempted to place him on house arrest.
The incident has sparked tension across the state, prompting Governor Okezie Ikpeaze to declare a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state’s commercial town of Aba.
In his reaction to the soldiers’ assault on journalists, Oyegoke Badamosi, a spokesperson for the Nigerian Army 14 Brigade in Ohafia, said preliminary investigation has revealed that soldiers indeed launched aggression against the reporters who were on their legitimate duties.
“What happened was that while the soldiers on patrol near the Abia State NUJ Secretariat, they noticed some people filming them.
“Unfortunately, they seized and damaged their recording devices; an iPad and 2 mobile phones. Preliminary investigation shows that the items belong to journalists on their legitimate duties.
“Consequently, the Commander 14 Brigade and Deputy Director Army Public Relations 82 Division waded into the matter which has since been resolved amicably.”
Mr. Badamosi, a major, however, said some media outlets had exaggerated the incident.
“The magnitude is not as was reported,” he said.