Military admits abducting missing FirstNews editor hours after IPI revelation

THE Nigerian military has admitted abducting FirstNews Editor Segun Olatunji hours after the Nigerian National Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI) revealed that personnel of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) were responsible for his abduction.

The Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, confirmed 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 has been missing for 12 days.


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Idris revealed this to 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 on Thursday. 

The ICIR reported on Wednesday that the IPI Nigeria, in a statement jointly signed by Mojeed Muskilu and the institute’s Legal Adviser, Tobi Soniyi, called on President Bola Tinubu to direct the military hierarchy to immediately release the abducted 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 custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), an agency that reports directly to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Christopher Musa.

“As a matter of urgency, the military should tell the world why Mr. Olatunji was arrested, where he is being kept, and why he has not been charged in court,” the IPI stated.

The IPI Nigeria 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 Olatunji’s home in Lagos on March 15. 

The men, two of who 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 has been kept incommunicado since then.

The management of First News suspected that the journalist’s disappearance was connected to a series of reports they had recently published. 

The outlet had published stories alleging nepotism and fraud, some of which were later taken down.






     

     

    These reports included a story about alleged nepotism in the office of Nigeria’s Defence Chief and another story about suspected fraud and money laundering by a contractor. 

    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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