Chairman of Onitsha Newspapers Directors Distributors Association (ONDDA) Mr. Jude Oguzie said
“sometime in July this year we got a report from our vendors selling under the bridge that they were being harassed by policemen for selling their papers and magazines under the bridge, and I went with my Vice Chairman and Secretary Mr. Christian Ikpe and Elder Emma Uwakwe to meet with the police.
“The police told us during our meeting that they were under instruction from the Idemili North Council boss not to allow anybody to sell papers under the bridge, when we probed further to know their reason for preventing our vendors, the policemen told us that they can only allow our vendors if we will be paying them N5000 weekly.
“We reminded them that vendors are among the people on essential duties that are not disturbed even during elections, population census, national and state sanitation exercise and even time of curfew but they insisted on being paid, we however, told them that we will present their demands to the media houses to see if it will be approved.
“We did not know that the vendors later entered into agreement with the police to pay them N2000 weekly after initial payment of N5000, but when it became very unbearable to them they decided to stop and the police swooped on them and destroyed their papers”
When we got this latest information about the destruction of our papers by the police, we went again to meet them and to our greatest surprise the police men recognized us and ordered the vendors who gathered around to leave the scene for them to discuss with us, and they told us that they cannot allow our vendors unless we pay them the N5000.
Oguzie said the vendors have been paying the police N2000 since June this year and they decided not to pay for last week and the police got angry and resorted to destroying their papers, they did the first day being Tuesday 23 and we went to the Local government to report and we were issued with a letter permitting but the policemen ignored the directive and came the third time being on September 27 to destroy more papers and claimed that their order came from the Area Commander in charge of the place and no more the Local Government.