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Family demands release of editor abducted by police in Abuja.

23rd May 2024

Nigerian Police

Men of the Nigeria Police on Wednesday abducted the editor of an online newspaper, Global Upfront, Madu Onuorah.

Onuorah, who also doubles as the newspaper’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, was whisked away by the security operatives at about 6 p.m. in the presence of his wife and children, the management said.

It was learnt that about 10 fully-armed policemen stormed his residence in Lugbe, Abuja, in two Sienna buses and took the editor without presenting a warrant of arrest, while he’s remained incommunicado with his family members, lawyer, and his workplace.

In a statement signed by the newspaper’s management, dated May 23, 2024, and obtained by Report Online, the management noted that “anybody who has any issue against Mr. Onuorah should approach the law court and not turn the Nigeria Police into a Gestapo outfit that bullies a man in the presence of his wife and children.”

It urged the police to release Onuorah “immediately and unconditionally,” adding that “any second Mr. Onuorah spends in police custody constitutes a serious infringement against his fundamental rights and a continuation of the assault on freedom of expression that has become a frequent occurrence in Nigeria recently.”

The management also indicated that while the policemen who abducted the newspaper’s EIC were “not of the Lugbe Police Station,” they “simply dumped him at the station and left no traces for friends and family members to reach them.”

Onuorah is an experienced journalist, a former Abuja Bureau Chief of The Guardian Newspaper, and a former Managing Director of The Authority Newspaper “who operates within the ambit of the law.”

In recent times, Nigerian journalists have come under intense heat owing to their Gestapo-like abductions by operatives of the Nigeria Police.

Segun Olatunji, the General Editor of an online newspaper, First News, was abducted in his home in the Iyana Odo, Abule Egba area of Lagos State on March 15, 2024, and his arrest set panic among the staff members of the news platform.

His wife, Abiodun Olatunji, said the armed men numbering 10 arrived at their residence a few minutes after 6 p.m. and whisked her husband away without leaving any information behind as to where they were taking him.

Olatunji was abducted by operatives of the Defence Intelligence Agency.

On May 8, 2024, Olatunji resigned from his position just as the news platform’s management apologised to Femi Gbajabiamila, President Bola Tinubu’s chief of staff, for a story published on its platform on January 29, 2024.

Olatunji’s article indicting the former Speaker of the House of Representatives was entitled “How Gbajabiamila attempted to corner $30bn, 66 houses traced to Sabiu.”

Another journalist, Daniel Ojukwu, who works with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, was abducted by the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Ojukwu was accused of violating the 2015 Cybercrime Act and was taken to the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre in Abuja.

He was released on Friday, May 10, 2024, after protests by some Civil Society Organisations in Abuja.



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