On Saturday, some journalists in Anambra State and other election observers from Abuja almost escaped death at the hands of some youths in Okija, Anambra State’s Ihiala Local Government Area.
On election coverage, the journalists Afam Aminu Chimezie, Onitsha correspondent of Business News, Gloria Anaeze, Onitsha Correspondent of Daily Independent, Eche Nwaobasi, also of Daily Independent, and Onitsha Correspondent of Anambra State-owned Newspaper, National Light, traveled to Okija, home town of one of the AAC Governorship Candidate, Akachukwu Nwamkpo.
However, after meeting with Nze Nwamkpo to ascertain the state of affairs in his area and deciding to visit some of the town’s polling centers where election materials arrived late about 1:15 p.m. at Okija Central School, the team of journalists and three election observers, consisting of two men and a woman, decided to pay a visit to one of the community’s illustrious sons, Chief Daniel Chukwudozie, who was said to be away
However, when we returned from Dr. Chukwudozie’s house, a gang of hoodlums barred the same road we had driven down, brandishing matchetes and clubs, and ordering the car’s occupants to disembark.
In their attempt to take advantage of the journalists, the hoodlums demanded N100,000 each as their share of the national cake. They also charged journalists and election watchers with transporting large sums of money intended for distribution to party agents.
Despite our protests that we were journalists covering the election and had no money to distribute, they demanded our phones and grabbed money from journalists and election observers.
However, after failing to force the team back into the car after accusing them of belonging to political parties, which the journalists humbly denied, the youths opened the booth of the car we were traveling in and brought out a gallon of fuel that had previously been purchased for the car, threatening to burn the car down along with the occupants.
After considerable pleading from the journalists and the snatching of their phones containing an undisclosed sum of money from the visiting team, they were permitted to go and cautioned never to return to the village.
When the press team and election monitors returned to Chief Nwamkpo’s house, a candidate and community indigene, he urged the team to leave the community immediately because no one was comfortable with the situation on the ground.