In Akwa Ibom thugs who work for Prince Ikim on Monday who is the Chairman, Waste Management Agency, Akwa Ibom, on the 16th of September, 2019 assaulted Mary Ekere and thereafter stripped her in the state. This was done because she was taking pictures of events at the Ibom plaza, the state capital. Uyo
The information gotten from journalist who works with ‘The post Newspaper‘ was that she was passing along the plaza where she saw some task force operators seizing some goods belonging to traders in the plaza and then she decided to take some pictures of the events. It was also said that the thugs irked by the journalist’s action allegedly beat her to stupor, stripped her naked and also dragged her into a waiting vehicle in the scene.
According to the Miss Mary Ekere, “I was taken to Sanitation Court, off Nkemba Street, unfortunately, the Magistrate was not around and I was remanded in prison custody”
It was later gotten that Miss Mary was taken to the court on Tuesday which was the following day, by the prison guards in their vehicle where she pleaded not guilty to the charges against her before the honorable court. Thereafter she was then granted bail of N10, 000 (Ten thousand Naira). The Waste Management Agency Chairman of Akwa Ibom State, Prince Akim who later ordered that Miss Mary should be sent back to the prison even after meeting the bail conditions. Then She taken back to prison custody and is currently at the Uyo prisons.
Reacting to the incident, the father to the accused, said he was shocked by the incident, describing it as unfortunate.
Hon. Idongesit Ekere who is the father to the accused described the unfortunate event with the following words: “We waited from morning till afternoon for the Magistrate, who came in the afternoon. When she was arraigned, she pleaded not guilty to those charges and was granted bail. They asked me to pay N10,000, which I did and filled the bail form they gave with my passport.”
“The court guy said he was coming to inspect my house, but later came to tell me that Mary will not be released today (Tuesday) again as promised that the Magistrate had gone without signing the bail form. So Mary was taken back to prison custody. I took food to give to her at the prison, but they denied me access to her. They said I should give money that they will give her to buy food, which I did. So she is still in prison.”
Meanwhile, Journalists in the Niger State have condemned act which they termed as inhuman treatment against their colleague, Miss Mary Ekere. In a release signed by Comrade Amos Etuk, who is the NUJ chairman, he expressed shock that Miss Mary Ekere was sent back to prison even when the presiding judge had granted her bail, and the father met the bail terms.
Similarly, the Chairman of the Federated Chapel, Comrade Inimfon Silas in a statement vowed to use legal means to bring the victims to justice lamenting that journalists will no longer be safe to carry out their lawful duties.
Also the female journalists under the aegis of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, Akwa Ibom state chapter were seen in a peaceful protest, early hours of today marching in their numbers to the sanitation court to register their grievances.
The Chairman of NAWOJ, Comrade Uduak Ekong in a telephone interview with our correspondent who wondered why Miss Ekere would be forced to spend two nights in the prison custody even after meeting the bail term called for her immediate release as well as an unreserved apology to the accused.
Comrade Ekong also called for total reorientation of the law enforcement agents in the state noting that even if they were authorized by the state government to stop people from trading around the plaza and along the road, they should carry out such duties with every sense of decency and decorum.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Waste Management Agency said he was not aware that Miss Ekere was still remanded in prison custody after meeting the bail terms. He promised to ensure that the accused is released soon.