In response to the recent invasion of the Abia Breaking News Television/Radio station in Umuahia, the Abia State Police Command has taken decisive action by ordering an orderly room trial for the police personnel implicated in the incident. The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO Moureen Chinaka, released a statement affirming the commitment of the Commissioner of Police, Kenechukwu Onwuemelie, to sanction the involved personnel if found culpable.
The release conveyed the Commissioner’s condemnation of the unprofessional conduct displayed by the officers during the incident. Commissioner Onwuemelie, who conducted an on-the-spot assessment of the situation, expressed regret and offered apologies to the Director of the media house, Mr. Ifeanyi Okali.
Preliminary investigations into the incident revealed that the police officers involved in the arrest had acted unprofessionally. The release emphasized that although there is no legal prohibition against a police officer arresting a studio, the circumstances surrounding this particular case did not warrant such actions.
The release stated, “The Commissioner of Police Abia State Command visited ABN TV/Radio on 17/1/24, where he conducted an on-the-spot assessment. He had discussions with the Director of ABN TV/Radio and apologized for the conduct of the officers. The matter was resolved amicably. However, the officers have defaulted, and their orderly room trial commences today 18/1/2023. If found guilty, they will be disciplined accordingly.”
The Abia State Police Command reiterated its commitment to maintaining a professionally competent, service-driven, rule-of-law compliant, and people-friendly Police Force, aligning with the vision of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Ebetokun, PhD NPM.
The incident that prompted the orderly room trial occurred when police officers invaded the ABN TV/Radio station during a live program to arrest a guest, Mr. Udensi Bernard. The police claimed that a petition from Mr. Uche Onwuka Udensi, the elder brother of the guest, regarding a family matter justified their actions.
Despite pleas from the media house staff to allow the program to conclude before making the arrest, the officers insisted on taking the guest away during the live broadcast. The incident has garnered nationwide condemnation, prompting the media house’s Director, Mr. Ifeanyi Okali, to threaten legal action unless the police issue a formal apology and compensate for the damaged equipment in the station.
While acknowledging the Commissioner’s visit and apology, Okali emphasized the need to halt police brutality, particularly against the media. The incident has sparked concerns about the protection of media freedom and the rights of individuals during law enforcement actions.