Soldiers attached to the Awka South Local Government demolition team in Anambra State, on Thursday, beat up and arrested Mr. David-Chyddy Eleke, a reporter with the Leadership newspaper.
The soldiers descended on Eleke as he took a photograph of a demolition exercise on Engr. Arthur Eze Avenue, Awka.
They seized him by the collar of his shirt, hit and threw him into their patrol van before taking him away to an unknown destination.
It was a distraught colleague of Eleke, Uzoma Nzeagwu of The Guardian, who witnessed the incident that sent distress calls about it to reporters.
For a long time, Eleke’s whereabouts could not be established as he was not picking his calls. Apparently, the soldiers had seized his mobile telephone.
As the news got to the state Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mrs. Tochukwu Omelu, who was presiding over a state congress of the union at Amawbia, she dismissed the meeting and made contacts until it was established that Eleke was being held at the Awka South LG headquarters.
She then led her members to the Awka South Secretariat, where the LG Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Okoye, was presiding over a meeting of the demolition task force, with the soldiers standing guard outside the building.
As the NUJ team approached, Eleke was released. But the NUJ chairman insisted on seeing the council chairman. After an initial hesitation by members of his staff, Omelu was let in.