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Daniel Ojukwu

03.05.2024 Featured Police Abduct FIJ Reporter Daniel Ojukwu ‘On IGP’s Orders’

Published 3rd May, 2024

By Emmanuel Uti

Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), has been abducted by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police and is currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti in Lagos.

Ojukwu went missing on Wednesday May 1, his numbers switched off and his whereabouts unknown to both colleagues, family and friends.

On Thursday, FIJ initially made a missing person report at police stations in the area where Ojukwu was headed, However, on Friday, a private detective hired by FIJ tracked the last active location of his phones to an address in Isheri Olofin, a location FIJ now believes was where the police originally picked him up.

READ ALSO: ‘Fisayo Soyombo Freed After 10 Hours at Force Headquarters

Ojukwu’s family would subsequently get wind of his detention at Panti, where they were made to understand the authorities are accusing him of violating the 2015 Cybercrime Act.

READ ALSO: Force Headquarters Detains ‘Fisayo Soyombo Over Story Exposing High-Level Police Corruption

A relative who visited him told FIJ that the authorities declined to provide contact details of the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) on jurisdictional grounds as the case was beyond Lagos.

“The arresting officers are part of the IG Monitoring Team. They said when they are done arresting the other people on their watchlist in Lagos, they would transfer him and others to Abuja.”

It is now the third day since the police have been holding Ojukwu incommunicado, denying access to legal representation.

POLICE ABDUCTION ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

Ironically, the knowledge of Ojukwu’s abduction has come on World Press Freedom Day, the day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On this same day last year, the World Press Freedom Day 2023, men of the Area F Police in Lagos arrested Daniel for telling them to stop punching a driver.

ONGOING PERSECUTION OF FIJ BY THE POLICE

The police have not formally said a word on why they abducted Ojukwu. However, when the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) grilled Bukky Shonibare, the chairman of FIJ’s Board of Trustees, at their Abuja office in March, they had mentioned FIJ’s story on how Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the then senior special assistant on sustainable development goals (SSAP-SDGs) to the president, paid N147.1 million to an account traced to Enseno Global Ventures (Enseno GV), an Abuja-based restaurant, for — guess what — the construction of a classroom!

A few days later, Ademuyiwa Adejobi, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), then told ‘Politics Today’, a Channels TV programme anchored by Seun Okinbaloye, that there were “two or three weighty allegations” against FIJ and its founder ‘Fisayo Soyombo.

Asked by Okinbaloye if the police had delcared Soyombo wanted or not, Adejobi said: “I sought a clarification from the CP. He told me no, but definitely they are going to invite him because there are weighty allegations concerning certain publications that his platform did. And of course, an invitation to the police at this level is just to come and clarify certain things. Nothing more.”

On FIJ’s behalf, Shonibare reached out to the police cybercrime centre for an official invitation for anyone at FIJ they needed to see, with a promise that it would be honoured, but nobody at FIJ, till date, has been formally invited by the police.

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Published 3rd May, 2024

By Emmanuel Uti

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