An erstwhile Senator of Imo East senatorial district, Samdaddy Anyanwu has described the arrest and brutalization of newspaper distributors and some writers in Imo State as dangerous for democracy.
Senator Anyanwu spoke through his media aide, Ikenna Onuoha in a press statement on Tuesday where he condemned the act by the state police.
He warned against the use of force on innocent citizens in the course of performing lawful duties, adding that the unprofessional conducts of some security agents were capable of generating tension in the state.
The former who is a PDP chieftain said democracy becomes useless when the ‘freedom of press’ is hampered and threatened by agents of government who are expected to protect it.
He added further, “press freedom entails that every citizen is at liberty to express their opinion through oral or written channels, it impedes constitutional provisions when the government begins to intimidate, harass or manhandle those exercising their rights.
“The press has played a pivotal role in nation-building and any attempt to harass, intimidate, bully journalists and vendors or gag it, will be resisted at all costs.”
The lawmaker who was the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges, however, called on the government of Imo State or the security agents in whose custody the vendors are kept to release them unconditionally because, according to him, their release would reduce the already hyped tension in the state.
In the same vein, he appealed to the newspaper distributors and journalists in the state to remain calm and law-abiding, cautioning them to desist from sensational stories that are capable of heating up the polity.
It would be recalled that some policemen in Imo State on Monday arrested five newspaper distributors and brutalized them for allegedly selling news about IPOB and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
It was earlier gathered that a writer and columnist with the Announcer Express Newspapers in the state, was arrested and detained by the state police.
The development has, however, elicited reactions from the press and public.