Daniel Ojukwu: Police Harassment of Journalists Unacceptable

It is still baffling that nine days later, the police have yet to release the Foundation for Investigative Journalism’s (FIJ) journalist, Daniel Ojukwu, further showing Nigeria’s disregard for press freedom and the rule of law.

Development Diaries reports that the Action Group on the Protection of Civic Actors, a Nigerian coalition of media and civil society groups, has protested the continued detention of Ojukwu, demanding his release.

As observed by the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), in this case, it is disconcerting that the police cited an ongoing investigation based on a petition without disclosing the identity of the petitioner.

CHRICED, in a press statement to Development Diaries, noted that the situation evokes memories of past military authoritarian regimes, signalling a perilous descent towards a fully-fledged dictatorship under President Bola Tinubu, wherein security agencies prioritise the interests of the politically powerful and influential.

The misuse of security forces to intimidate and harass journalists is a flagrant violation of democratic principles and human rights. Such actions undermine the freedom of the press, which is essential for holding power accountable and fostering transparency in governance.

‘CHRICED strongly denounces the inappropriate use of security forces, which are supported by public funds, to harass citizens, especially journalists who are carrying out their responsibilities by covering governance matters’, the statement read.

‘CHRICED upholds the values of justice, truth, liberty, rule of law, and human rights for all, especially marginalised groups, as essential for a peaceful and prosperous society.

‘Any attack on democracy, free speech, and diverse voices undermines the foundation of a democratic system, as seen in the unjust abduction and harassment of the FIJ journalist’.

The Nigerian police must respect the rights of journalists and uphold the rule of law, as journalists play a crucial role in a democratic society by providing information to the public and exposing corruption and wrongdoing.

It is essential that they are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal or harassment.

Development Diaries joins CHRICED in calling on the police authorities to immediately release Ojukwu. Freedom of the press is a fundamental right that must be protected to ensure transparency and accountability in governance.

Photo source: FIJ


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