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Editor’s detention: NPAN, BON, CSOs approach ombudsman

The media owners, media executives in Nigeria and their civil society partners have reached a tentative agreement with the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) to refer…

The media owners, media executives in Nigeria and their civil society partners have reached a tentative agreement with the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) to refer their protest on the arrest and detention of Mr Segun Olatunji, Editor of FirstNews newspapers, by military personnel in response to stories published by the media outlet, to an ombudsman.

This is contained in a statement on Sunday and jointly signed by Malam Kabiru A. Yusuf, President, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN)/President, Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO); Dr Yemisi Bamgbose, Executive Secretary, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON); Eze Anaba, President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE); Comrade Chris Isiguzo,

National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ); Maureen Chigbo, President, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP); Musikilu Mojeed, President, International Press Institute, Nigeria Chapter (IPI Nigeria); Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA); Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC); and Adetokunbo Mumuni, Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

They said in response to concerns expressed by the media executives on the abduction of the General Editor of FirstNews newspapers, Mr Segun Olatunji, and a demand on the government for accountability, the DIA requested a meeting with the NPO, BON and the Civil Society Partners on April 14, 2024.

“The military authorities said they acted to forestall a potential threat to national security and would have reported the matter to the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC) -The National Media Ombudsman – if they had been aware of its existence.

“After considering this disposition towards the ombudsman, the NPO, BON and the Civil Society partners have decided after reviewing the outcome of the April 14 meeting, to refer the matter to the ombudsman for adjudication,” the statement read.

They said the report of the ombudsman process would be made public and expressed hope that the parties concerned will seize this opportunity to settle the matter in the interest of law, order and respect for the provisions of Nigeria’s constitution.

“Besides the specific issue of Olatunji, the group condemns the increasing militarisation of the civic space, which has seen increasing use of excessive force by soldiers in matters that would have ordinarily be handled by the police,” they added.

 

 

 

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