It’s irresponsible to arrest journalists, Atiku faults FIJ reporter, Ojukwu’s detention

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Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has condemned the detention of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism’s reporter, Daniel Ojukwu, calling it an attack on press freedom.

He said it was not only irresponsible but also a breach of free press to arrest journalists for exposing societal ills.

In a statement posted on his X handle on Sunday, Atiku noted that the arrest came just 48 hours after a minister “boasted” that no journalist had been incarcerated under the current administration.

“Two days ago, on the occasion of the #WorldPressFreedomDay, a minister of this administration boasted that no journalist had been incarcerated by this administration,” Atiku said.

Atiku linked Ojukwu’s detention to his investigations, including a recent exposé on an alleged high-profile smuggler.

“The arrest of Ojukwu may not be unconnected with the groundbreaking investigative works of the independent Foundation for Investigative Journalism that has exposed alleged high profile smuggler with links to top officials of this administration,” he added.

He also recalled the arrests and detentions of Segun Olatunji of FirstNews Newspaper and Chinonso Uba, also known as Nonso Ukwa of Oziza FM Radio, criticising the government’s growing trend of press suppression.

“It is not only irresponsible to arrest journalists for exposing the ills that abound in this government, it is also a breach of their constitutionally guaranteed #FreePress.

“That the arrest of Ojukwu came barely 48 hours after the observance of the World Press Freedom Day, speaks volumes of the character of the Tinubu administration to freedom of the press.

“The least that is expected of the relevant authorities is to #FreeOjukwu,” he stated.

Ojukwu disappeared on May 1, and his phone was unreachable, leaving his colleagues, family, and friends in the dark about his whereabouts.

Subsequently, Ojukwu’s family found that he was detained at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Lagos State, where he was reportedly accused of violating the 2015 Cybercrime Act.

FIJ founder, Fisayo Soyombo, disclosed Online on Sunday that the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, moved Ojukwu to the National Cybercrime Centre, in Abuja.

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