By Adoye Iyalla, Port Harcourt
The Proliferation of ‘Task Forces’ has become a source of concern for people in Port Harcourt,Capital of Rivers State as untrained lawless youths recruited by the state unleash horror
On Thursday, June 14, 2012 men of the Rivers State Vest Wearers popularly known may be task force headed by the Commissioner of Urban Development and Planning, Tammy Danagogo beat up the Daily Trust Correspondent,Bashiru Abdullahi , seizing his Samsung phone.
According to the reporter, he was on assignment at the Federal Secretariat along Aba Road taking photographs of the building, when the boys accompanied by policemen and soldiers to demolish illegal structures descended on him, slapping him severally before taking away his telephone. ‘What are you doing here, why are you snapping here? Who are you? Or are you taking shots of our activities?’’ one of the boys said while manhandling the reporter and pushing several other road users.
When the reporter approached the soldiers and the policemen accompany them and identified himself for possible intervention, they all stared at him, and one of the soldiers with a name. SS Abubakar said ‘what can we do for you now? Go and solve the matter with them.
The opposing ACN has recently said it is worried by the increasing number of what is described as thugs on roads and streets in Port Harcourt, masquerading as task forces created by the Rivers State government.
“The party believes the proliferation of task forces by all ministries and parastatals of government, Commissions and agencies of Rivers State government further picture the State as lawless, and exposes the leadership as lacking in ideas and in a state of bewilderment.
“Their activities are dragging the good name of Rivers State into public ridicule as a result of their harassment, intimidation, killings, and beating, maiming and stealing of personal effects of innocent road users.
“The call” according to the ACN, “has become very essential following the embarrassment the activities of these thugs in different kinds of uniforms have caused innocent indigenes, visitors and investors who come to increase the economic affluence of Rivers State.”
In a reaction the Federated Correspondents Chapel in a statement signed by its Chairman, Terver Akasse and Secretary, Chris Eze and made available to Newsdiaryonline .com in Port Harcourt condemned the act carried out by the so called task force by slapping a journalist performing his constitutional duties.
The statement further added that this should be the last time Journalists of this great chapel hear this in Rivers State and called on the Ministry of Urban Development boss to caution or train the boys working with them to respect other constituted authorities on the road going about its assignment.
When the Commissioner for Urban Development, Dr. Tammy Danagogo was contacted by this this reporter his phone kept ringing but he refused to answer .Other officials failed to comment.