The assault and arrest of the publisher and editor of online news outlet, Elombah.com by the Nigerian police was met with widespread condemnation on Tuesday.
The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, Nigeria’s premier association of digital/new media publishers’s has condemned the arrest of Mr Daniel Elombah and Tim Elombah. The group also expressed concerns about the Buhari administration’s -imposed restrictions on the media and plot to intimidate and suppress press freedom in the country.
“OPAN views the assault on Elombah.com as part of a sustained plot by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to intimidate and suppress press freedom. We wish to remind this administration that we are in a democratic dispensation. The practice of using security agencies to harass journalists, especially those operating in the digital media must STOP.”
“We implore this administration to respect free speech and protect the fundamental rights of citizens, whilst also urging the judicial arm of government not to allow its judges and courts become a tool in the hands of dictators and oppressors, to legitimize their abuse and violation of human rights.
“Independent finding shows that the arrest was premised on an opinion article titled “ IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies” written by Eboiwei Dickson, that was published on the website as well as dozens of other sites, which the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris found offensive, said OPAN president, Mr Austin Ogannah in a statement
The journalists were brutalized and arrested in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in their family home in Nnewi, Anambra State.
“The image of the country has been affected by this case. More pressure from the international community will come,” said a media advocacy group on Tuesday night.
“I awoke on New Year to the news that Nigeria’s security agents had snatched blogger Daniel Elombah and two or so of his siblings. There was little explanation for their arrest and detention beyond the alleged statement by the state agents that there were “orders from above”, said Okey Ndibe.
“That such Orwellian phraseology is still used to hound and harass Nigerians in the era of “nascent democracy” ought to disturb all who know the difference between freedom and serfdom. ”
“Since Obasanjo’s time as president—all the way to now—Nigeria has witnessed some form of repression masked as democracy. The incessant assaults inundate the lives of citizens, claw at their hearts, wear down their spirits, he said.
MEANWHILE, the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, Nigeria’s premier association of digital/new media publishers, has strongly condemned the brazen arrest of the duo of Daniel Elombah and Tim Elombah, the Publisher and Editor respectively, of United Kingdom based online news website, Elombah.com by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, of the Nigeria Police Force on “Orders from Above.”
In a statement on Tuesday, signed by its President, Austyn Ogannah, who is also the publisher of THEWILL News Media, OPAN said, “Though the police has declined to publicly state why the journalists were brutalized and arrested in the wee hours of New Year’s Day in their family home in Nnewi, Anambra State, independent finding shows that the arrest was premised on an opinion article titled “ IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies” written by Eboiwei Dickson, that was published on the website as well as dozens of other sites, which the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris found offensive.
“OPAN views the assault on Elombah.com as part of a sustained plot by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to intimidate and suppress press freedom. We wish to remind this administration that we are in a democratic dispensation. The practice of using security agencies to harass journalists, especially those operating in the digital media must STOP.
“We implore this administration to respect free speech and protect the fundamental rights of citizens, whilst also urging the judicial arm of government not to allow its judges and courts become a tool in the hands of dictators and oppressors, to legitimize their abuse and violation of human rights.”
Recalls that Tim and Daniel were arrested in a Gestapo-like raid and transported to Abuja, but the latter was released late in the night following sustained pressure on the Inspector General of Police and the Nigerian government by members of OPAN as well as bloggers, public affairs commentators, human rights and press freedom groups.
Tim was Tuesday brought before a magistrate court in Abuja by the police seeking an order to remand him in prison custody for a period of fourteen (14) days pending the completion of police investigation and filing a former charge, but the court only approved seven (7) days, setting the matter for hearing on January 9, 2018.
Ekiti poll: How FG moved N18bn cash through Akure Airport – PDP
The campaign organisation of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kolapo Olusola Campaign Organisation (KOCO), on Thursday alleged that the Federal Government has moved N18 billion cash with bullion vans into Ekiti State through Akure airport with the purpose of allegedly inducing the electorate with the money during Saturday’s poll.
Director, Media and Publicity of KOCO, Lere Olayinka, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of the party, said: “We called you here to intimate the public through your various media organisations of the movement of huge cash by the federal government to Ekiti State for the Saturday election.
“Last week Saturday, two bullion vehicles were moved to the Akure Airport to evacuate cash brought from Abuja by a chartered flight.
“The flight landed when it was raining and all staff of the airport were barred from going near the aircraft while the cash was evacuated into the two bullion vehicles.
“After offloading the huge cash, the bullion van first moved to the Ondo State Government House in Akure from where they left for Isan Ekiti, the hometown of the APC governorship candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
“We present to you and the entire world, video and photographs of the chattered aircraft as the cash was being offloaded from it into the two bullion vehicles.
“From our preliminary findings, N2.5 billion cash was transferred by the Kebbi State Government to an account in UBA, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja. It was withdrawn immediately and moved with a private jet to Akure.
“Also, apart from the N2.5 billion, another $50 million (about N18bn) was taken from the $321 million recovered from the late Abacha family.
“Our question is, how can a government that claimed to be fighting corruption be releasing billions of Naira from the public coffers for the governorship election of a single State? Where is their fight against corruption?
“We, therefore, call on Nigerians to note this wanton looting of public funds by the APC government to fund the election of its members.
“We must tell Fayemi and his APC that the conscience of the people of Ekiti cannot be purchased and we call on the people of Ekiti to resist the planned use of stolen funds to buy their votes on Saturday.
“Lastly, let me use this opportunity also to alert the public of the intimidation and harassment of PDP members by men of the DSS and policemen.
“Already, Akin Fakorede, an officer of the Federal SARS has been posted to Ekiti State, ostensibly to play the same ignoble role that he played during the Rivers State election.
“Let me say it clearly that no amount of intimidation will scare our people away from the polling units where they will vote for the PDP on Saturday.
“We have the people behind us and they are more than ready to give our candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka their votes on Saturday, ” he said.
BREAKING: PDP storms National Assembly in protest over Ekiti
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu addressing PDP member during the protest at National Assembly, Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by its chairman, Prince Uche Secondus stormed the entrance of the National Assembly to register their dissatisfaction over the intimidation of Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose ahead of July 14 governorship election on July 12, 2018.
Fayose had claimed that Security operatives molested him at the Ekiti government House on Wednesday.
The protesters who were welcomed by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu condemned molestation of Governor Fayose in Ekiti State.
Speaking before the Deputy Senate President, Secondus called on international community to look at what is happening in Ekiti because it is a threat to the nation’s democracy.
He appealed to leadership of the National Assembly to intervene on the happening in Ekiti state.