The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, Abuja, has ordered the immediate release of the publisher of 247ureports, Ikenna Ezenekwe.
On Tuesday, July 5, 2021, the Nigerian police allegedly detained Ezenekwe in the FCT-Abuja due to an article that had been posted on the website.
The journalists who were protesting said that the police did not bring their arrested colleague to court.
Since Ezenekwe was taken into custody by members of the IGP monitoring team, according to OPAN’s president Austyn Ogannah and general-secretary Daniel Elombah, the publisher “has remained in incarceration and has not been charged to court. This is unlawful and an infringement of his fundamental rights.”
A stement issued by OPAN read, “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, petitioned the IGP monitoring team to arrest and detain 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 Ezenekwe and apologise to him for his unlawful incarceration.”