NUJ, NPAN, NGE, other media bodies, CSOs give FG 14-day ultimatum to investigate Segun Olatunji’s ‘unlawful’ arrest

Media groups and some concerned Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Sunday, gave the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to investigate and prosecute those involved in the violation of the rights of the Editor of FirstNews Newspapers, Mr. Segun Olatunji.

Recall that Olatunji’s home in a Lagos suburb was invaded on March 15, 2024, by the Nigerian Air Force and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), led by a military officer who also introduced himself as Colonel Lawal.

During the raid, Olatunji’s mobile phone was seized and he was handcuffed, blindfolded, and flown to Abuja where he was kept in an underground cell for 14 days.

But in a statement jointly issued by the President, Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) / President, Nigerian Press Organisations (NPO), Mallam Kabiru A. Yusuf, the Executive Secretary, Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); and Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose, and the National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ),  Comrade Chris Isiguzo, the media bodies called for the prosecution of the all military personnel involved in the violation of Olatunji’s rights.

Other signees of the statement are; Eze Anaba, President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE); Maureen Chigbo, President, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP); Musikilu Mojeed, President, International Press Institute, Nigeria Chapter (IPI Nigeria); Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA); Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, International Press Centre (IPC); and  Adetokunbo Mumuni, Director, Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP).

The statement read: “ The Federal Government conducts a speedy, public, transparent and independent investigation into the incident to identify all persons within and outside the military who were connected with the violation of Mr Olatunji’s rights;

“There should be full accountability for all those responsible. Therefore, all persons within and outside the military who are found to have been connected with the incident, including those who effected Mr. Olatunji’s arrest, detention and torture, those who directly commanded them, and those who ordered or instigated the action, should be prosecuted before the apply Section 35(6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the Federal Government should pay Mr. Olatunji substantial compensation and issue a public apology to him for the unlawful and unconstitutional violation of his rights as well as the inhuman and degrading treatment to which he was subjected; and

“ The Federal Government should make an unequivocal public commitment to respect and defend the rights and freedoms of journalists and other media practitioners to carry out their professional duties in a safe and conducive Sections 22 and 39 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and advise all law enforcement, security, intelligence, military and other agencies accordingly. 

“Should the Federal Government fail to respond positively to all these demands within 14 days from today, the undersigned media associations and professional bodies as well as civil society organisations will pursue all available mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to ensure compliance with our demands’’.