Direct military to produce abducted FirstNews editor, IPI tells Tinubu

THE Nigerian National Committee (NCC) of the International Press Institute (IPI) has advised President Bola Tinubu to direct the military authorities to produce the abducted FirstNews editor, Segun Olatunji.

On March 16, Olatunji, a former PUNCH correspondent for Kaduna State, was abducted from his house in Iyana Odo, Abule Egba, Lagos.

His whereabouts have since not been known.

The IPI, in a statement released on Wednesday, March 27, signed by its President, Musikilu Mojeed, and Legal Adviser/Chair of the Advocacy Committee, Tobi Soniyi, urged Tinubu to activate the powers of his office as Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to direct the hierarchy of the military to produce Olatunji.


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The IPI said multiple checks revealed that Olatunji was in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), an agency under the command of Emmanuel Undiandeye, a major general who reports to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Christopher Musa.

“For the past 11 days, the abducted journalist has been kept incommunicado, with his family, employers, and colleagues unaware of his whereabouts.

“IPI Nigeria has received inquiries about this matter from all over the world. The Institute has also contacted the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Army, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Defence Headquarters, and the Ministry of Information and National Orientation to seek information on Mr Olatunji and demand his release. All efforts in this direction have so far failed,” the statement partly reads.

According to the IPI, the abduction of Olatunji has triggered speculations among journalists and human rights activists around the world that the Nigerian military might be keeping some vital information away from the public concerning the journalist’s safety.

IPI, therefore, called on Tinubu to direct the military authorities to immediately release Olatunji or charge him to court if he has committed any offence.

The body also called on the international community to monitor the “unjust detention of Olatunji by the Nigerian military.”

The group reminded the government that the rule of law demands that an accused person is allowed to defend himself in a court of law within a reasonable time.






     

     

    It also argued that this conforms with the provisions of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, which forbids the detention of any citizen or resident beyond 48 hours, except with a valid court order.

    According to reports, armed men in two unmarked vans arrived at Olatunji’s home in Lagos on March 15. The men, two of whom dressed in military camouflage, introduced themselves as officers of the Nigerian Army and forced Olatunji to go with them. They declined to tell his wife, who witnessed the abduction, where he was being taken.

    The IPI said the military should tell the world why Olatunji was arrested, where he had been being kept, and why he had not been charged in court.

    The group reminded the Nigerian authorities that when it comes to upholding human rights, Nigeria continues to rank low in the comity of nations.

     

     

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