June 12: Ayade Allegedly Orders Security Aides To Manhandle Journalists, Human Rights Lawyer In Calabar

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By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar

As June 12 activists in Cross River State gathered in their office along Marian Street to address their members, the state governor Senator Ben Ayade was reportedely  seen ordering his security details and other appointees to manhandle protesting human rights activists, lawyers and journalists.

Eye witness account said, the incident occurred  when the governor’s convoy who was on inspection stopped in front of Cross River Watch Newspaper office where the human rights activists have gathered with placards led by Barrister James Ibor to mark the June 12 Democracy Day.

“Ibor, he said, had held series of meetings with the state Commissioner of Police, Sikiru Akande, who approved of the protest but advised them to cancel the “Freedom Park venue”” they intended to use and rather use the front premises of the online newspaper office”.

“The Commissioner of Police sent a team of policemen numbering about 20 to stay with them alongside men of the DSS.  We were very peaceful as we chanted our songs and shared leaflets which contents were purely demanding for good governance both at state and federal levels. Nothing more.  The policemen and DSS operatives can attest to this. The Deputy Commissioner of Police and other senior officers were standing beside me”.
“Suddenly the governor’s long convoy stopped by. His personal security details and some appointees jumped out from the convoy, and moved quickly towards us.  They demanded that we run away  for our lives. We said we were not going to run.

“The DSS and policemen told them that they were fully in charge of the situation because the CP had approved but the governor’s aides would hear nothing of the sort

“They tear gassed us.  Some of them with masks punched us. You can see these bruises over my face, my shirt was torn.  I was kicked and slapped and pushed into the gutter. Agba Jalingo and two other journalists who also came to monitor the peaceful protest, suffered same fate.”

Ibor who is principal counsel to Basic Rights Initiative and chairman of Child Protection Network said he will definitely proceed to the court to seek justice.

Chief press secretary to the governor, Christian ita denied that the governor was present in the said convoy and doubted if it was the governor’s convoy.

He reminded that the governor had issued a directive, warning against any form of public protest and gathering.

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