The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), the flagship organization for digital news publishers demands the immediate release of the publisher of 247ureports.com, Mr Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe who was picked up by the Nigerian police at the FCT-Abuja on the morning of July 5, 2021 over an article published on the website.
Disclosing this in a statement signed by Austyn Ogannah, President, and Daniel Elombah, General-Secretary, the association said that since his arrest by men from the IGP monitoring team, he has remained incarceration and has not been charged to court. This is unlawful and an infringement of his fundamental rights.
Although the Police never formally invited him, he was immediately arrested and taken to the national police headquarters in Asokoro where he was interrogated in the absence of his lawyer.
A former chief of staff to the former governor of Anambra, Willie Obiano, Chief Primus Odili, who recently failed in his senatorial bid on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), petitioned the IGP monitoring team to arrest and detain Mr. Ezenekwe claiming the article on him was libelous.
OPAN gathered authoritatively that Chief Odili has tasked the IGP monitoring team to unmask the source of the article, which Ezeneke has declined to identify citing confidentiality and privilege between journalists and news sources.
We find it disturbing and unacceptable that the police could allow a citizen to use it to intimidate a journalist.
The police have continued to intimidate and coerce Ezenekwe demanding to know the source of his story. This is wrong. Is the police above the laws of the land?
OPAN hereby calls on the police to immediately release Mr. Ezenekwe and apologise to him for his unlawful incarceration.