April 21, 2024

DIA vs Olatunji: NPAN, NPO, NGE, others refer dispute to Ombudsman

Order military to produce abducted journalist, Segun Olatunji – IPI Nigeria begs Tinubu

The Newspapers’ Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN; Nigerian Press Organisation, NPO; Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE; Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, and civil society allies, among others, have referred the dispute between the General Editor of FirstNews newspapers, Mr. Segun Olatunji, and the Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA, to the Ombudsman for adjudication, following a meeting with DIA.

The group also includes Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, International Press Institute, Nigeria Chapter IPI Nigeria, Media Rights Agenda, MRA, International Press Centre, IPC, Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project, SERAP.

In a joint statement, however, the group condemned 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.

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The statement was signed by the president NPAN/NPO, Kabiru Yusuf, Executive Secretary, BON, Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose, President, NGE, Eze Anaba, National President NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, President GOCOP, Maureen Chigbo, President IPI Nigeria, Musikilu Mojeed, Executive Director, MRA, Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director IPC, Lanre Arogundade, and Director SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni.

According to the statement “In response to concerns expressed by the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) , the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and Civil Society Partners, on the abduction of the General Editor of FirstNews newspapers, Mr. Segun Olatunji, and a demand on the government for accountability, the Defence Intelligence Agency (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.