Police hold FIJ reporter despite calls for his release

Police hold FIJ reporter despite calls for his release

by Joseph Anthony
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Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist affiliated with the online news platform Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), has been detained by the police for a week now following his removal from his Lagos home by armed individuals who later identified themselves as policemen.

According to Ojukwu’s lawyer, Abimbola Ojenike, who spoke with Channels Television, the journalist was taken from his residence on May 1st, just hours before Press Freedom Day.

“We noticed that Daniel Ojukwu was missing, and his contact numbers were deactivated. A subsequent private inquiry revealed that, based on phone signals, he was traced to somewhere around Isheri Olofin. No one knew his whereabouts thereafter,” Ojenike stated.

“Later information indicated that he was at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Lagos, and his mother located him there. No clarification was provided regarding the specifics of his arrest, and he was not granted bail.”

Ojenike asserted that the directive for Ojukwu’s “abduction” came from the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun.

The lawyer further disclosed that the journalist was barred from meeting his legal counsel and was subsequently transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Abuja.

“He has neither been formally charged nor appeared before any competent court, but he was later confronted with a petition concerning a particular article he wrote about a deputy governor of Lagos State, who currently serves as a special adviser to the President on Millennium Development Goals, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire,” Ojenike elaborated.

The legal representative stated that his client has provided a statement concerning the petition filed against him and “we anticipate that he should be granted bail as per standard procedure.”

“He (Ojukwu) poses no flight risk whatsoever, and had he been invited, he would have complied with the police summons. Hence, there is no justification for apprehending individuals in a manner that triggers widespread agitation,” Ojenike remarked.

The police, however, asserted that Ojukwu must address the allegations against him, citing a violation of the Cybercrime Prohibition Act 2015 and other relevant laws of the land.

The detention of Ojukwu has drawn criticism from civil society organizations, pro-democracy activists, and global rights groups, who condemned the arrest and demanded his immediate release. They labeled it as a repression of press freedom and a violation of human rights.

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