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Police abduct another editor

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The Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the Global Upfront online newspaper, Mr. Madu Onuorah was on Wednesday whisked away by men of the Nigerian Police Force at about 6pm.

According to sources, about 10 fully-armed policemen stormed Onuorah’s residence in Lugbe, Abuja, in two Sienna buses.

He was arrested in the presence of his wife and children who fruitlessly demanded from the police why they were arresting him.

Onuorah’s phones has reportedly been cut off from communication. He was not allowed to contact his lawyer or any of his relations before he was whisked away to the Lugbe police station by the stern looking operatives.

To ensure that he did not get attention or bail, the team that arrested him, though not from Lugbe police station, dumped him at the station and left no traces for friends and family members to reach them.

In a statement, the management of Global Upfront newspapers asked the Police to release Onuorah immediately and unconditionally.

The statement, which was copied to the Nigeria Union of Journalists, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, and media houses, also read: “That Mr. Onuorah is an experienced Journalist, former Abuja Bureau Chief of The Guardian newspapers, 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 frequent occurrence in Nigeria recently”.

Between, 2023 and 2024, no fewer than 11 journalists had been detained, while rights to freedom of expression and media freedom have been routinely violated, with security forces threatening, arresting and detaining journalists, bloggers and human rights activists just for doing their work.

On 15 March. this year, for instance, the then General Editor of FirstNews Segun Olatunji was taken from his Lagos residence. He was released by the Defence Intelligence Agency, 13 days after, following a nationwide outrage.

On the heels of that was the detention of a reporter with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Daniel Ojukwu. He was abducted by the police in Lagos on 1 May and released after 10 days following a protest held at the Force headquarters.

Force Public Relations Officer, Assistant Commissioner Olumuyiwa Adejobi said Ojukwu’s arrest and investigation by the police were justifiable under the law.

“Mr. Ojukwu was lawfully apprehended and detained pursuant to a valid remand warrant issued by a competent court of justice on 2 May 2024. His initial detention in Lagos and subsequent transfer to Abuja by the FCID-National Cybercrime Centre aligns with standard investigative procedures undertaken by police”, the police image maker said.

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