“He used a knife, which he brought from his uniform, to destroy the driver’s side’s tyre. The soldier was trying to get a stick probably to smash the windscreen of the car but decided to use a knife when he could not get a stick. I ran away when I noticed that he had brought out a knife.”
The above statement is that of Sunkanmi Olusola, driver of The Punch Newspapers delivery vehicle when a group of soldiers on Sunday morning attacked the circulation vehicle on its way to distribute one of its titles to states in the South-South region.
The Punch reports that one of the vehicle’s front tyres was torn beyond repair with a knife by one of the soldiers manning Mbiama, a border town between Rivers State and Bayelsa.
It was gathered that a soldier tried getting a stick to smash the windscreen of the Passat Golf 3 car but later resorted to using a knife to destroy the tyre.
Sunkanmi said the incident happened about 4.10 am, as the soldiers stopped The PUNCH and The Nation Newspapers from moving beyond Mbiama.
“When I got to Mbiama, some soldiers staying there did not allow us (The PUNCH and The Nation) to pass. I made an attempt to appeal to the soldiers to allow us to continue our journey, but one of them became very angry and attacked the company’s car.
“The tyre was destroyed beyond repair. It is a new tyre that we bought a few days ago – not up to a week. I had to replace it with the car’s spare tyre. The crisis started three days ago; security officials at Mbiama would not allow us to pass and distribute papers.
“They also stopped ThisDay truck carrying newsprint from coming into the state. Yesterday (Saturday), the policemen on duty at the same spot allowed my colleague to pass but today, the soldiers at the same location refused to allow us to pass.”
Efforts made by the spokesman of the Sixth Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major Charles Ekeocha, to make the soldiers allow the drivers to circulate their newspapers reportedly proved futile.