Journalists Attacked By Police, Political Thugs Over Collapsed Building

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ASABA, July 23, (THEWILL) - For daring to gather information on why parts of a multi storey building under construction collapsed, several Journalists were beaten and molested on Wednesday in Warri, Delta State by Police and thugs on alleged orders of Mr. Emami Ayiri, a strong loyalist of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan and staunch supporter of embattled former Delta state governor, Chief James Ibori.

The Newsmen who visited the site of the property after a tip off to gather first hand information on the incident, where three workers met their untimely death and several others were seriously injured, were beaten and molested by the thugs and policemen who are drafted to secure to premises.

Several persons injured have since been admitted at hospitals in Warri and Ekpan, Uvwie council area while those with seriously cases were rushed to the University of Benin Teaching hospital, Edo State and the newly commissioned Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara.

The building located at Ogunu near the Shell Petroleum Development Company office, it was gathered collapsed Wednesday around 2.30am and its remote causes has been attributed to the likely usage of substandard materials by the construction engineer and the contractors in a bid to reduce cost enabling the Ministry of Urban Planning to seal up the property.

Some of the Reporters who were attacked include Mr. Dan Orji of the Delta State Broadcasting Service and Mr. Joe Ogbodu, Warri Correspondent of the Compass Newspaper with their recording equipment seized by the thugs.

In an interview with THEWILL reporter in Warri, Mr. Ogbodu who expressed dismay over the attack on media men who were on their lawful duties said he thought the anti-riot policemen drafted to the scene of the incident would come to their rescue when they were being molested but to his greatest surprise and shock they (Policemen) also joined the thugs in molesting journalists who came to perform their constitutional duty.

However, as at press time, the thugs were still keeping watch over the property even as owner of the collapsed building, Mr. Ayiri on arrival claimed that the unnamed contractor was a member of the Council for Regulation of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) and that the building was duly approved.

Dependable investigations carried out showed that the dead and most seriously injured workers fell from the fifth floor when the wooden scaffold caved in.

Confirming the incident, Divisional Police Officer in charge of ‘A’ division, Warri, Mr. Okong Effiong sympathized with the families of those who lost their lives as well as those with injuries.