Media bodies, CSOs demand probe of Editor’s detention


A coalition of media associations and civil society organisations have given the Federal Goverment a 14-day ultimatum to prosecute those behind what they call “cruel detention” of the Editor of FirstNews, Segun Olatunji.

Recall that Olatunji was abducted from his home in Lagos by military personnel.

He was detained for 14 days without his family or colleagues knowing his whereabouts.

It took a series of pressure from the media before he was released despite the military hierarchy claiming they were not aware of his presence in their custody.

The coalition in a statement expressed deep concern and strong condemnation regarding the unlawful arrest, detention, brutalisation and torture of Olatunji in response to stories published by his media outlet.

They gave the government a 14-day ultimatum to prosecute those behind his detention or “Will pursue all available mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to ensure compliance with our demands.”

The statement was signed by the President, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) / President, Nigerian Press Organisations (NPO), Mal. Kabiru A. Yusuf; Executive Secretary, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose; President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Eze Anaba; National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo; President, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Maureen Chigbo; President, International Press Institute, Nigeria Chapter (IPI Nigeria), Musikilu Mojeed; Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Edetaen Ojo; Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Lanre Arogundade; and Director, Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP), Adetokunbo Mumuni.

“We hereby demand a speedy, public, transparent and independent investigation into this act of barbarism displayed by military personnel as well as the brazen disregard for the constitution and the government’s obligations under relevant domestic laws and international instruments,” the statement read in part.

They demanded that all persons within and outside the military who were found to have been connected with the “Unacceptable violation of the rights of the journalist should be prosecuted before the appropriate court.

“The Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI), who commands the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Major General Emmanuel Undiandeye, reportedly ordered the operation that culminated in Mr Olatunji’s abduction, torture, and detention while the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, to whom the CDI reports, was also reportedly aware of the operation but joined the CDI to claim for days that the journalist was not in their custody. They need to be held accountable for their roles in the matter.

“Should the Federal Goverment fail to respond positively to all these demands within 14 days from today, the undersigned media associations and professional bodies as well as civil society organisations will pursue all available mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to ensure compliance with our demands,” the statement added.