Govt jails journalist for taking photos of task force officials in Akwa-Ibom

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Mary Ekere, a journalist in Akwa Ibom state, has been remanded in prison for allegedly taking photos of task force officials who were raiding a city spot.

The task force is said to be under the environmental & waste management agency of the state headed by Prince Ikim.

Ekere, who covers the state house of assembly for The Post, a local newspaper, is said to have spent two nights in prison.

According to PREMIUM TIMES, the journalist was said to be walking past a popular recreational spot called Ibom Plaza when she saw officials of the task force raiding the spot, which is said to be notorious for illegal street-trading.

She reportedly decided to take some pictures of their operations and was arrested on Monday afternoon and remanded in prison.

“They were on illegal operation, obviously. So, they arrested her for taking the photos, pushed her into their vehicle, and then threw her into jail just like that.” Gideon Ekere, editor-in-chief of The Post, was quoted to have said.

Journalists in the state have reportedly been making efforts to secure her release but to no avail.

“I went there (the court) in the morning, we were assured (by Prince Ikim) that bail conditions would be given to her and that she would be released,” Amos Etuk, the state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, was quoted to have said.

Etuk said he also got an assurance from the prosecutor that Ekere was going to be released on bail on Tuesday.

She was reportedly arraigned at a sanitation court but was taken back to prison despite meeting her bail conditions. The magistrate was said to have left the court without signing the bail documents.

“We don’t even know how they threw her into the prisons in the first place,” Etuk was quoted to have said.

“They took her to a police station, from there to the court, the magistrate was not there, so they took her to the prisons.”

Earlier in the month, Agba Jalingo, a journalist, was charged with terrorism for allegedly criticising Ben Ayade, governor of Cross Rivers.

Jalingo, who is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was arrested and detained following a report in his newspaper.

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