Nigerian journalist shot

Pictures of Nigerian journalists interviewing someone [Photo: BBC]

An AIT reporter is undergoing treatment at a specialist medical facility in Bayelsa, after being shot by a suspected armed bandit.

Patience Owei was returning from a church programme on Friday night when she was assailed and robbed by a thug in downtown Yenagoa, the state capital, media reports said.

Ms. Owei is based in Yenagoa where she covers the Government House beat for AIT, reports said.

Bayelsa police commissioner, Amba Asuquo, told PREMIUM TIMES the police are treating the case as armed robbery.

“It’s an armed robbery incident in which a lone attacker used a locally made pistol, ” Mr. Asuquo said by telephone. “I have been to the hospital to see the victim myself. ”

A witness account reported by The Nation said Ms. Owei was returning from Shiloh, the annual congress of Winners’ Chapel, when the suspected thief pounced on her.

“Just in front of her house he showed her the gun, took her phone, jewellery and cash,” according to the witness whom The Nation identified only as Bokoru.

“But the animal didn’t end there. He took steps backwards and shot her at close range even as she gave him no problems,” the witness added.

The incident occurred a few metres from the reporter’s residence at about 10:00 p.m., according to the police commissioner and Bokoru, who was said to have participated in taking the victim to the hospital.

Gbenga Aruleba, a senior official at the station, agreed with the findings of the police.

“From what I gathered from our colleagues who are on the spot and from the police report, I think it’s more of a robbery attack than any other motives,” Mr. Aruleba said.

“It could be that the attacker was under the influence of some other things, that may be why he had to shoot,” he added.

The police said they have obtained material that could aid in their investigation and possible arrest of the suspect.

Governor Seriake Dickson has expressed his sadness over the assault and said the state government will pick up medical bills for Ms. Owei.

But coming only months after a radio journalist was fatally shot by gunmen, the attack could raise new concerns about the safety of media practitioners in Bayelsa.

Famous Giobaro was a reporter for Bayelsa Radio until his assassination on April 16. Authorities are still investigating that case.

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