Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, and Despotism Against Journalists

Written by on 04/07/2024

The recent surge in arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists in Nigeria signifies a disturbing shift towards despotism, contradicting the nation’s democratic claims. The abductions of Segun Olatunji and Daniel Ojukwu echo the harassment and victimization reminiscent of the 1990s military regimes. Such maltreatment undermines press freedom and poses a severe threat to societal liberty, making it unacceptable in today’s Nigeria.

Over the past year, there have been at least seven cases of arbitrary arrests and detentions of journalists, highlighting the precarious and worsening safety conditions they face. These incidents are often linked to disgruntled political actors abusing state power in defiance of the rule of law. This alarming trend suggests a capture of state institutions by privileged individuals who use security agents to suppress press freedom with impunity.

Press freedom is constitutionally guaranteed in Nigeria and recognized internationally, demanding that journalists be treated with civility and respect. The government must hold officials accountable for abuses against journalists and ensure that security personnel do not collaborate in such acts. The Federal Government, particularly the Attorney General, must act swiftly to protect journalists’ rights and press freedom. A public inquiry into these arbitrary arrests and abductions is essential, with appropriate sanctions for those involved to deter future violations.

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