Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Abducted Online Newspaper Editor, Segun Olatunji Regains Freedom

The Editor of FirstNews Online Newspaper, Segun Olatunji, has regained his freedom after spending 12 days in custody.

Gunmen in military uniform had invaded Olatunji’s residence at Iyana Odo, Abule Egba area of Lagos State, on March 15, 2024, and whisked him away.

While the journalist’s family did not receive any communication from the military, the management of the media platform linked the incident to a story published by FirstNews.

The two stories published by the platform that may be connected to his abduction are, the first report is titled, ‘Revealed: Defence Chief Running Office Like a family business – Public Interest Lawyers.’ The second report, titled, “EXCLUSIVE: How contractor company stole N100bn, laundered funds for top govt officials – Investigation,’ was later pulled down by the medium.

Concerns about his location continued until the International Press Institute (IPI Nigeria) said its checks showed the editor was in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), an agency under the command of Major General Emmanuel Undiandeye, who, in turn, reports to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Chris Musa.

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Hours after the IPI made the disclosure, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, told some editors that the military had confirmed that the editor was in their custody.

Meanwhile, in a strongly-worded statement on Wednesday, IPI called on President Bola Tinubu to activate the powers of his office as Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to direct the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to produce Olatunji.

“IPI Nigeria has received inquiries about this matter from all over the world. The Institute has also contacted the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Army, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Defence Headquarters, and the Ministry of Information and National Orientation seeking information on Mr Olatunji and demanding his release. All efforts in this direction have so far failed.

“That has triggered speculations among journalists and human rights activists around the world that the Nigerian military may be keeping some vital information away from the public concerning the journalist’s safety.

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“IPI is therefore calling on President Tinubu to direct the Nigerian military authorities to immediately release Mr Olatunji or charge him to court if he has committed any offence. The international community should also pay attention to the unjust detention of Mr. Olatunji by the Nigerian military,” said the statement signed by IPI President, Musikilu Mojeed, and Tobi Soniyi, its secretary.

Consequently, on Thursday morning, Olatunji was released to the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), according to a message by the Secretary of the Guild, Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren.

As at the time of his release, the DIA didn’t say what Olatunji’s offences are.

 

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