Abuja online publishers protest against detention of colleague

The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of 247ureports publisher Ikenna Ezenekwe.

Ezenekwe was reportedly arrested by Nigerian police at FCT-Abuja on Tuesday, July 5, 2021, following an article posted on the website.

Protesting journalists alleged that the police failed to bring their detained colleague to justice.

OPAN President Austyn Ogannah and Secretary General Daniel Elombah said that since Ezenekwe was arrested by men from the IGP monitoring team, the editor “has remained incarcerated and n was not prosecuted. This is illegal and a violation of his fundamental rights.

A statement issued by OPAN said: “Although the police never officially invited him, he was immediately arrested and taken to the national police headquarters in Asokoro where he was interrogated in the absence of his lawyer.

“A former chief of staff to former Anambra Governor Willie Obiano, Chief Primus Odili, who recently failed in his senatorial bid on the All Progressive Grand Alliance platform, asked the team to monitoring the IGP to arrest and detain Ezenekwe claiming the article against him was defamatory.

“OPAN has authoritatively gathered that Chief Odili instructed the IGP monitoring team to unmask the source of the article, which Ezeneke declined to identify citing confidentiality and privilege between journalists and sources of information.

“We find it disturbing and unacceptable that the police could allow a citizen to use it to intimidate a journalist.

“The police continued to intimidate and coerce Ezenekwe to demand to know the source of his story. It’s wrong. Are the police above the laws of the land?

“OPAN hereby calls on the police to immediately release Ezenekwe and apologize to him for his unlawful incarceration.

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