Over 30 NGOs kick against FIJ’s journalist’s alleged police abduction

 Over 30 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) championing human rights have kicked against the abduction of Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) by the Nigerian Police Force.

In a statement jointly issued on Wednesday, the concerned NGOs, which include Gatefield, Dataphyte Foundation, Global Rights, Invictus Africa, Spaces for Change, DigiCivic Initiative and Nigeria Network of NGOs among others,  described the development as an attack on Press Freedom. 

They also disclosed that another journalist with WikkiTimes, Yawale Adamu, is currently facing threats from a member of the House of Representatives for shedding light on their alleged questionable activities. 

They said the abduction of  Ojukwu and threats against Adamu were not isolated incidents but rather symptoms of a larger problem within Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies, and their relationship with politically exposed persons undermining democratic principles. 

They explained that these actions erode trust in an already fragile democratic system, adding that the actions are an egregious violation of press freedom and human rights. 

According to them, the Nigeria Police Force has veered off course from its duty to uphold law and order to become an oppressive tool in stifling dissent and independent journalism.

They claimed that the latest incident underscored the importance of defending media freedom against attempts to silence truth-tellers. 

“The recent abduction and intimidation tactics employed against journalists highlight a concerning trend where free speech is being criminalised under Nigeria’s Cybercrime Act.

“With Nigeria ranking 112th out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom according to Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index, it is evident that urgent action must be taken to protect journalists from persecution.

“As an Action Group on Protection of Civic Actors, we will continue to push back against oppression in all forms, and cannot stand idly by as journalists are targeted for ensuring a well-informed citizenry.

“In a democracy like Nigeria, to prevent democratic backsliding, free speech should not only be protected but celebrated as essential for holding those in power accountable,” they said.