The International Press Institute (IPI) Nigeria has noted with concern the arrest, detention and subsequent arraignment before a magistrate court in Bauchi of the publisher of WikkiTimes online newspaper, Haruna Mohammed and a reporter, Idris Kamal, by the police in Bauchi.
The journalists claimed that they were physically assaulted while they were in detention.
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It said the offences of criminal conspiracy, defamation of character and cyber stalking with which the journalists were charged showed that the police were using bogus crimes with which to continue the harassment and intimidation of the journalists.
A statement yesterday by the IPI Nigeria Secretary, Ahmed I. Shekarau, condemned the practice of using the police by civilians to harass and intimidate journalists, advising that “anyone who is aggrieved by any news item published by WikkiTimes should seek redress in court instead of using the police or other security agents to harass the journalists.
“IPI Nigeria demands the withdrawal and discontinuation of the vexatious charges filed against the two journalists with immediate effect”, the statement said.
It called on the Inspector-General of Police to call the Bauchi State Police Command to order.