Some soldiers have attacked vans deployed from Rivers State to distribute newspapers to other states in the Southsouth.
It was gathered that the overzealous soldiers descended on the vans and their drivers on Sunday morning at Mbiama, a border town between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
It was learnt that one of the soldiers used a knife to puncture the tyres of the van conveying the Punch newspaper and threatened to do same to the vehicles conveying The Nation newspaper and others if their drivers failed to make a U-turn and return to Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The soldiers were said to be members of the task force set up by Governor Nyesom Wike to enforce the closure of the state’s borders as part of his measures to stop the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
While the task force was said to be allowing tankers and vehicles carrying perishable goods into the state, the soldiers refused to allow newspaper vans despite all explanations that the vehicles were on essential duty.
One of the soldiers, reportedly said: “Newspapers have been reporting negative things about the military; it is now our turn to deal with you people”.
The driver of The Nation newspaper, Kehinde, decried the attitude of the soldiers in the task force, saying while they allowed some vehicles including tankers access, they refused newspaper vehicles to pass through the border.
He said: “I got to Mbiama very early but some soldiers insisted they would not allow me to pass the border. Other security operatives in the team understood the importance of my job as an essential service and were willing to let me pass to deliver papers to Bayelsa, Delta and Benin.
“But some of the soldiers in the team were adamant. I got there at about 1am and spent about three hours before vehicles conveying other papers came. But one of the soldiers was very particular about newspapers.”