September 26, 2022

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Abuja online publishers protest colleague’s detention

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

Ezenekwe was said to have been arrested by the Nigerian police at the FCT-Abuja on Tuesday, July 5, 2021, over an article published on the website.

The protesting journalists alleged that the police failed to charge their detained colleague to court.

The President of OPAN, Austyn Ogannah and General-Secretary, Daniel Elombah, said since Ezenekwe’s arrest by men from the IGP monitoring team, the publisher “has remained in incarceration and has not been charged to court. This is unlawful and an infringement of his fundamental rights.”

A stement issued by OPAN read, “Although the Police never formally 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 the former governor of Anambra, Willie Obiano, Chief Primus Odili, who recently failed in his senatorial bid on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, petitioned the IGP monitoring team to arrest and detain Ezenekwe claiming the article on him was libelous.

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

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

“The police have continued to intimidate and coerce Ezenekwe demanding to know the source of his story. This is wrong. Is the police above the laws of the land?

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