Atiku condemns arrest, detention of FIj reporter, calls for immediate release

FORMER vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has joined thousands of Nigerians in condemning the continued detention of Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), for alleged violation of the 2015 Cybercrime Act by the Nigeria Police. 

In a post on X on Sunday, May 5, Abubakar said it is not only irresponsible to arrest journalists for exposing the ills that abound in Tinubu’s administration but also a breach of their constitutionally guaranteed Press Freedom.

The ICIR reported how Ojukwu was arrested and detained in Lagos over allegations of cybercrime.


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Ojukwu was abducted by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector-General of Police on Wednesday, May 1, but his abduction became known on Friday, coinciding with World Press Freedom Day.

Reacting to this, Abubakar said “Two days ago, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, a minister of this administration boasted that no journalist had been incarcerated by this administration. That was before the detention of Daniel Ojukwu of FIJ. The arrest of Ojukwu may not be unconnected with the groundbreaking investigative works of the independent Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) that has exposed alleged high profile smuggler with links to top officials of this administration.”

He also mentioned that the administration arrested and detained Segun Olatunji of FirstNews Newspaper and Chinonso Uba, aka Nonso Ukwa of Oziza FM Radio, for doing their jobs.

“I wish to also remind of the arrest and detention of Segun Olatunji of FirstNews Newspaper and Chinonso Uba aka Nonso Ukwa of Oziza FM Radio. It is not only irresponsible to arrest journalists for exposing the ills that abound in this government, it is also a breach of their constitutionally guaranteed #FreePress. That the arrest of Ojukwu came barely 48 hours after the observance of the World Press Freedom Day, speaks volumes of the character of the Tinubu administration to freedom of the press. The least that is expected of the relevant authorities is to Free Ojukwu,” he said.

Ojukwu moved from Lagos to Abuja 

After spending four days in Lagos police custody, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF)  moved Ojukwu to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja.

Ojukwu was transferred by the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) to the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) in Abuja in the early hours of Sunday.




     

     

    Subsequently, he was moved to the FCID, which FIJ noted that it was “a better place than the cybercrime centre to break his resolve.”

    According to FIJ, the police, for the first time, on Sunday, produced a petition showing that his abduction is in connection to FIJ’s story on how Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the then senior special assistant on sustainable development goals (SSAP-SDGs) to the president.

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    Adefulire was investigated for having paid N147.1 million to an account traced to Enseno Global Ventures (Enseno GV), an Abuja-based restaurant, for the construction of a classroom.

    Meanwhile, the attacks have continued to generate widespread condemnation from journalists and concerned Nigerians, who deemed his detention as a significant setback in the ongoing battle against impunity and harassment of media professionals in Nigeria.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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