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12.05.2024 Featured Police Locked Me Up With Confessed Murderers, FIJ’s Daniel Ojukwu Reveals

Published 12th May, 2024

By Tola Owoyele

Daniel Ojukwu, the FIJ reporter who was recently abducted by the police, has said he was made to share a cell with confessed murderers while being held at the State Criminal investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba.

Speaking on Newsnight Nigeria, an Arise TV news and current affairs programme, on Saturday, Ojukwu said his detention experience equipped him with a first-hand knowledge of the inhuman treatments suspects are subjected to while being detained by law enforcement and security agencies in Nigeria.

“I was locked up with confessed murderers, people who confessed to the crime of murder,” Ojukwu said.

“I was locked up with people who did confess to committing heinous crimes. Yes, I saw a lot of people undergo some very concerning conditions and circumstances while in detention.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: FIJ’s Daniel Ojukwu Regains Freedom From Police Captivity After Protests

“It opened my eyes to how much injustice, how much inhuman treatment is meted to suspects — people who are perceived to have committed a crime but haven’t been put before a judge and haven’t been convicted.

“It made me wonder: if detention is that bad, what would prison be like for those kinds of people?”

Asked if he was tortured, Ojukwu answered: “Physically, no. Mentally, yes.

“I was tortured mentally. I was detached from my normal life. I was not allowed to make a phone call, not allowed to reach anybody.

“Personally, I had the mental fortitude to withstand most of those things, I mean, being away for a while gave me the opportunity to reflect on many things.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Ranks 112th in the World for Journalist-Friendly Countries

“However, family members, friends and colleagues at work had no idea where I was. So, it wasn’t just me I needed to worry about, I also needed to worry about the people who were going through a whole lot of emotional stress because they did not know my whereabouts.

“Nobody knew where I was. So, it wasn’t just about me. I was there in captivity, but a lot of people were going through so much emotional stress. They did not know where I was, if I was kidnapped, if I was probably a victim of an ambush, one chance and all that.

“It wasn’t until days later that they finally had an idea of what had happened. Looking back, I did understand that the actions that led to my detention really affected a lot of people.”

Acting on the orders of the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, five officers from the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the police abducted Ojukwu in Yaba, Lagos, on May 1, denying him access to his family, employers and lawyers for days.

The reporter’s abductors made him spend his first five days at Panti, Lagos, before he was transported to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Police Abduct FIJ Reporter Daniel Ojukwu ‘On IGP’s Orders’

Ojukwu would spend 10 days in detention before he was eventually released on May 10.

FIJ later gathered that Ojukwu was abducted and detained for a purported violation of the 2015 Cybercrime Act in his investigative report on how Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals (SSAP-SDGs) to former President Muhammadu Buhari, allocated N147.1 million to an account linked to Enseno Global Ventures (Enseno GV), an Abuja-based restaurant, supposedly for the construction of a classroom.

Ojukwu’s arrest and eventual detention came in the month dedicated to commemorating the World Press Freedom Day.

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Published 12th May, 2024

By Tola Owoyele

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