IPC Faults Arrest Of Journalist In Abuja, Seeks Immediate Release

The International Press Centre (IPC)’s Centre for the Safety and Protection of Journalists (I-CSPJ) has issued a plea for the immediate release of Madu Onuorah, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Globalupfront Newspaper, who was apprehended at his residence in Abuja.

Naija News previously reported that Onuorah was taken into custody on Wednesday evening in front of his wife and children.

The news platform’s management stated that he was escorted away by stern-looking security officials.

It is important to note that Onuorah’s arrest occurred several months after the military detained Segun Olatunji, a former General Editor of First Mail, at his home in Lagos. Olatunji was eventually released after approximately three weeks.

In response to this recent arrest, the management of Globalupfront Newspaper expressed their dismay in a statement on Thursday.

The statement revealed that the police confiscated the editor’s phones and prevented him from contacting his lawyer and family members after leaving him at the Lugbe police station.

The statement read in part: “The Management of Globalupfront Newspapers states as follows: That the Police should release Mr Madu Onuorah immediately and unconditionally.

“That Mr Onuorah is an experienced journalist, former Abuja Bureau Chief of The Guardian Newspaper, former Managing Director of The AUTHORITY Newspaper, who operates within the ambit of the law.

“That anybody who has any issue against Mr. Onuorah should approach the law court and not turn the Nigerian Police into a Gestapo outfit that bullies a man in the presence of his wife and children.

“That any second Mr Onuorah spends in police custody constitutes a serious infringement against his fundamental rights and a continuation of the assault on freedom of expression that has become a frequent occurrence in Nigeria recently.”

IPC Calls For Onuorah’s Release

The IPC said it understood that two Sienna buses carrying about ten fully armed policemen raided the residence of the journalist in Lugbe, Abuja.

In a statement released on Thursday, Melody Akinjiyan, the Press Freedom Officer at IPC, quoted Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of IPC, urging the Inspector General of Police to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of Madu Onuorah.

I-CSPJ also appealed to other national, regional, and international media freedom groups, organizations advocating for freedom of expression, and human rights bodies to unite in advocating for a free press in Nigeria.

He said: “The media once again is under attack. The rate at which journalists and media practitioners are being arrested is alarming and should be of serious concern to all.

“He was arrested in the presence of his wife and children who fruitlessly demanded from the police why they were arresting the head of the family. He was not even allowed to contact his lawyer or any of his relations before he was whisked away to the Lugbe police station.

“Anybody who has an issue against Madu Onuorah should approach the court of justice and not use the Police to unlawfully infringe his fundamental rights.”

Police Gives Reason For Arresting Journalist

In clarifying the reasons behind the arrest of the journalist, the police force has stated that they had received a written petition against him regarding an alleged defamatory publication made against a US-based Reverend Sister.

The force emphasized that Onuorah was not abducted, contrary to circulating reports, but was instead arrested after multiple unsuccessful attempts to invite him for questioning.

This explanation was provided in a statement issued by the spokesperson for the police force in Enugu State, Daniel Ndukwe, and shared with journalists by the force headquarters.

Ndukwe further informed that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Kanayo Uzuegbu, has instructed the office handling the case to conduct a thorough and professional investigation, ensuring that justice is served.

In light of these developments, Ndukwe appealed to the leadership and members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the Federal Capital Territory Chapter, as well as the associates of the suspect, to exercise patience, assuring them that the necessary actions will be taken in this case.

The post IPC Faults Arrest Of Journalist In Abuja, Seeks Immediate Release appeared first on Naija News.

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