Twelve suspected Labour Party (LP) thugs yesterday invaded a newspaper distribution centre on Oba Adesida Road in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
They removed about 2,000 copies of this week’s edition of a local newspaper, Rocket News.
The hoodlums were allegedly led by two persons, who claimed to be officials of the State Security Service (SSS).
The newspaper was said to have published a story on the alleged fraud in the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC).
It was learnt that the story gave details of how the former commission’s former chief, Prince Debo Ajimuda, and four others, allegedly defrauded the intervention agency with “forged receipts of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE)”.
The invaders stormed the distribution centre as early as 5am, asking for the newspaper’s editor.
The editor, Rotimi Ogunleye, said the invasion was an attempt to prevent the paper from reporting the rot in Ondo State.
Ogunleye said it was worrisome that the LP administration is increasingly becoming intolerant of opposing views, especially as the governorship election draws nearer.
He said: “It is unfortunate that suspected thugs of the ruling LP took away copies of our newspaper. I must say that I am not surprised. For more than four days now, I have been receiving frightening text messages from some people, threatening to kill me if we did not stop publishing the paper.”
Ogunleye promised to continuously be on the side of the masses in the fight to rescue the state from the “grip of those who have been holding on to its jugular”.
The Ondo State Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) yesterday said the reign of terror the ruling Labour Party (LP) unleashed on the opposition in the last one week shows the desperation of the Olusegun Mimiko administration to hold on to power at all cost.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Agbede, the party said the development is at variance with the people’s expectation.
It said: “Having been in the news for three and a half years unchallenged, Mimiko and his “agents” cannot stand the fact that attention has shifted to opposition parties, particularly the ACN.”
ACN condemned the mopping up of the last edition of a local newspaper, Rocket News, by security agents in Ondo State.
It noted that the move was aimed at muzzling the press to suppress information.
The party said it is unnecessary for the government to confiscate a newspaper that published stories the state government regarded as uncomplimentary.