In a video circulating on social media, men from the Abia State Police Command invaded ABN TV in Umuahia on Tuesday, forcibly arresting a guest, Mr. Udensi Donald, during a live broadcast of the program “Youth Rendezvous,” anchored by Grace Onyekachi.
The Director of ABN TV/Radio, Ifeanyi Okali, expressed his concern over the invasion and arrest in a statement posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday.
Okali described the police action as a provocation against press freedom and human rights, outlining the sequence of events during the invasion.
According to the statement, officers from the Umuahia Area Command of the Nigerian Police arrived at the station at around 2:40 pm on Tuesday, claiming to be acting on a petition against Mr Udensi Donald related to a family matter.
He said despite pleas from ABN TV staff to allow the live program to conclude before making the arrest, the police officers insisted on taking Mr Udensi away during the broadcast.
Okali criticized the police’s actions, describing them as overzealous and contravening established rules of engagement.
He also emphasized that such actions go against the promoted police-civil relations campaigned by the Commissioner of Police, CP Kene Onwuemeile.
His words: “The police claimed a senior brother of the guest, one Mr Uche Onwuka Udensi had written a petition against him over a family matter.
“Despite repeated pleas by our staff to the officers to allow the programme to come to an end before the guest could be arrested, they insisted on whisking him away while the live programme was on.
“We find this very provocative and indeed an act of overzealousness by the officers who obviously acted in clear contravention of rule of engagement.
“It clearly also negates the enhanced police-civil relations which the Commissioner of Police, CP Kene Onwuemeile, has consistently campaigned for.”
Okali also alleged that the policemen damaged some of the station’s equipment.
He further an unreserved apology from the Abia state police command over the incident.
Watch the video below: