The spokesperson of the Joint Task Force in Bayelsa state, Isa Ado, a lieutenant colonel, has confirmed the arrest and subsequent handing over of a Punch reporter, Simon Utebor, to the police.
Mr. Utebor was arrested by soldiers for attempting to take pictures of President Goodluck Jonathan’s private home in Otuoke, Bayelsa State.
Mr. Ado said the JTF Commander in the state has ordered for the release of Mr. Utebor.
However, Mr. Utebor told PREMIUM TIMES via phone he was yet to regain his freedom.
“I have been transferred to the State CID, and I have written a statement on the incident and we are still waiting for the police authorities,” Mr. Utebor said.
Some soldiers deployed to protect President Goodluck Jonathan’s private residence in Otuoke, Bayelsa state, on Thursday had harassed and detained Mr. Utebor, for attempting to take pictures of the president’s house.
Mr. Utebor was arrested by soldiers from the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta and handed over to the police at Otuoke Police Station.
Mr. Utebor was reportedly accosted by soldiers on guard duty while taking photographs of on-going work on the palatial residence constructed while the president was in office.
Artisans were seen putting finishing touches to the premises consisting of multiple blocks of two storey buildings.
Mr. Jonathan is expected to be received on Friday by the Bayelsa Government at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre at 3p.m. and later in his Otuoke country home by his kinsmen.
Earlier efforts to speak with the Punch correspondent were unsuccessful as his mobile phone was switched off.
When initially contacted the spokesperson of the Joint Task Force, Mr. Ado, had said he was out of station on official assignment but however, pledged to investigate the report and respond as soon as possible.
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