FirstNews Editor freed hours after IPI indicted military of his abduction

FIRSTNEWS editor, Segun Olatunji, has been released by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) hours after the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI) accused the military of his abduction.

According to reports, Olatunji was released to the General Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Iyobosa Uwugiaren and the Deputy Editor of The Nation Newspapers, Yomi Odunuga, under a bridge in Asokoro, Abuja, on Thursday, March 28.

On Wednesday, March 27, The ICIR reported that the IPI claimed that the missing editor was in the custody of the DIA.

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The IPI later quoted the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, as confirming that the missing journalist is in the custody of the military.

Idris confirmed that top military officers revealed that their men arrested and detained Olatunji, who had been missing for 12 days while addressing officials of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, IPI and Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Wednesday, March 27.

The Minister stated that the DIA had reportedly committed to releasing the journalist the following day. 

The ICIR reported that the IPI, in a statement jointly signed by its Nigerian president, Mojeed Muskilu, and the institute’s legal adviser, Tobi Soniyi, called on President Bola Tinubu to direct the military hierarchy to immediately release the journalist or charge him to court if he has committed any offence.

According to the IPI, the rule of law demands that an accused person is allowed to defend himself in a court of law within a reasonable time.

The IPI said multiple checks revealed that Olatunji was in the DIA’s custody, an agency that reports directly to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Christopher Musa.

The IPI noted that Olatunji’s abduction had 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.

It urged the international community to pay attention to the unjust detention of Olatunji by the Nigerian military.

Olatunji was abducted from his home in Lagos by armed men in military uniform.

According to reports, armed men in two unmarked vans arrived at his 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 abductors did not leave any information behind as to where they were taking him or what his offence was. He was kept incommunicado until he was release.



    The management of FirstNews suspected that the journalist’s disappearance was connected to a series of reports his organisation had recently published. 

    Olatunji’s experience is just one example of the many press attacks in Nigeria.

    Journalists in the country often face harassment, intimidation, and violence for their work.

    The lack of safety and security for journalists in Nigeria is a significant concern for the freedom of the press in the country.

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