Ebonyi police arrest Vanguard reporter over invasion story

Men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad attached to the Ebonyi State Police Command, on Tuesday, arrested the Vanguard correspondent in the state, Mr Peter Okutu.

He was arrested over a report he did about military invasion of Umuogodoakpu-Ngbo in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.

Okutu was arrested by SARS operatives at the Woodberry Hotel Abakaliki, on the orders of the Ohaukwu Local Government Council Chairman, Mr Clement Odah.

Before his arrest, it was gathered that Okutu had been invited by the Special Assistant on Media to the Governor, Mr Francis Nwaze, over the report.

It was alleged that Nwaze later asked the reporter to meet Odah to brief him on the story.

Okutu was later contacted by Odah, who asked him to meet him at the Woodberry Hotel, where he was arrested by security operatives.

Okutu, who believed he would be briefed by the council on the situation in Ohaukwu, was accompanied by The PUNCH correspondent in the state, Mr Edward Nnachi, to the hotel where he was arrested.

At the hotel, it was gathered that the council chairman had queried Okutu on the sources of his report and while he was still explaining to him, four SARS men emerged from within the hotel premises and arrested him.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Police in Ebonyi State, CP Awosola Awotunde, confirmed Okutu’s arrest.

The CP told journalists at the Command’s Headquarters, Abakaliki, the state capital, that the Vanguard reporter was arrested because his story was capable of heating up the polity.

The CP said, “That report by the Vanguard reporter in the state was baseless and unfounded. You people are overheating the polity. You people have powers, we know; but you should not abuse it. So, you people should take it easy.”

Okutu was still being held by the police as of the time of filing this report.

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