Online editors demand the release of Peoples Gazette journalists and condemn the police raid on its office


police officers

By CALLISTUS OFFOR, Abuja –

The Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN) has condemned today’s raid on the online newspaper, Peoples Gazette office in Abuja and the subsequent arrest of five journalists by armed police.

NATIONAL ACCORD reports that the police broke into the media office and demanded to see the editor, Samuel Ogundipe and a journalist Adefemola Akintade regarding an article he published on June 23, 2022.

The story detailed how the anti-corruption agency, ICPC, raided a property believed to belong to a former army chief of staff and current ambassador to the Republic of Benin, retired General Tukur Buratai, where she collected cash and luxury items.

The police then arrested five staff members, John Adenekan, Deputy Editor, Ameedat Adeyemi, Grace Oke, Sammy Ogbu and Justina Tayani, and detained them at the police station.

OPAN, in a statement by its President, Austyn Ogannah, and its Secretary General, Daniel Elombah, noted that the ICPC had confirmed that it had carried out an operation in the building, as Peoples Gazette reported, but General Buratai later alleged that the story defamed his reputation and complained to police at Utako Police Station in Abuja.

“The state security services cannot continue this illegal and crude practice of raiding the media with the aim of intimidating the press. Today’s raid on the office of the Peoples Gazette and subsequent arrest of journalists reminds us of the draconian era of military rule, particularly during the reign of General Muhammadu Buhari between 1983 and 1985” , said OPAN.

“If retired General Buratai believes he has been defamed by the report, the legal and correct approach would be to sue the newspaper for defamation in court. The days of using state security agencies to harass and intimidate the press and journalists are over. This desecration of people’s rights can no longer be tolerated in a democracy,” OPAN warned.

OPAN has therefore called for the immediate release of the journalists and demands an unqualified apology from the police and the Nigerian government for this incident.

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