Police detain journalist over report on Lagos businessman

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Men of the Nigerian Police Force from the Zone 2 Command, Lagos State, have arrested a journalist and writer of News Platform, Precious Eze.

The writer of the web newspaper was mentioned to have been picked up by policemen at his Gbagada, Lagos house on May 27, 2024.

His arrest, in keeping with a press release by the journalist’s colleagues, was allegedly instigated by a criticism from a distinguished businessman and politician.

The assertion added that Eze’s colleagues, underneath the umbrella of the Society of Digital Newspaper Owners of Nigeria, learnt of his arrest after one week he had been detained and makes an attempt to safe his launch on bail proved abortive.

According to them, Eze was arraigned on Thursday, May 30, earlier than the Ebute Meta Magistrate Court to safe a remand order, which resulted in a judicial rebuke of the police’s motion because the Justice of the Peace struck out the case, deeming it with out benefit and affirming that Eze had no case to reply.

They claimed that moderately than grant Eze’s quick launch, the police returned him to custody and re-arraigned him earlier than one other Justice of the Peace on Friday, May 31, with the case adjourned to a future date in June.

The assertion learn, “This sequence of occasions isn’t just a private ordeal for Precious Eze however a obtrusive assault on press freedom in Nigeria. The actions of the police, performing seemingly underneath the affect of a robust particular person, signify a blatant try to intimidate and silence the press. This undermines the very foundations of a democratic society, the place journalists should be capable of report freely and maintain these in energy accountable with out worry of retribution.

“The Nigerian Constitution (1999), the Evidence Act (2011), and the moral codes of the Nigerian Press Council Act (1992) are clear of their help for journalistic freedom and the safety of sources. The extended detention and authorized harassment of Precious Eze stand in stark distinction to those protections and function a chilling reminder of the vulnerabilities journalists face in Nigeria.

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“As this case unfolds, it is imperative for the Nigerian judiciary to uphold the principles of justice and press freedom. The international community, press freedom advocates, and civil society must also remain vigilant and vocal in their support for Eze and all journalists facing similar threats.

“The detention of Precious Eze is not just an isolated incident; it is a bellwether of the broader struggle for freedom of expression in Nigeria. It is a call to action to safeguard the rights of journalists and, by extension, the right of the public to be informed.”

When contacted, the Zone 2 Police Command’s spokesperson, Ayuba Umma, neither confirmed nor denied the arrest.

The police spokesperson mentioned she would make an inquiry concerning the case and get again to our correspondent.

“I will find out from the investigation team and get back to you,” she informed our correspondent on Thursday morning.

The PUNCH had in a report on May 6, 2024, detailed how the wave of abduction and arrest of journalists have change into some extent of concern for media practitioners who now have to fret about their security as they discharge their duties.

The considerations will not be just for reporters, editors, and each media practitioner but additionally for his or her households and mates who worry for the protection and freedom of their family members.

Given the kidnapping of First News Editor, Segun Olatunji, from his residence in Lagos on March 15, 2024, by the navy, to the current ordeal of Daniel Ojukwu of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, who was seized by the police on the streets of Lagos, media professionals discover themselves in a dire state of affairs paying homage to Nigeria’s junta period.



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