Media groups, CSOs demand justice for journalist abducted by military

Leading Nigerian media and civil society organisations have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Nigerian government to investigate the abduction, brutalisation and torture of Segun Olatunji, Editor of FirstNews newspapers, by the military.

The groups, in a statement early Monday, also demanded prosecution of the perpetrators as well as compensation and public apology to Mr Olatunji.

The statement, which detailed various forms of rights vioations and dehumanisation Mr Olatunji went through at the hands of military personnel during his 14-day detention, called for full accountability for all the perpetrators within and outside the military.

Mr Olatunji was stripped to his boxers, legs manacled, hands in cuffs, kept incommunicado and not informed of his offence or the reason for his arrest nor of his rights as required by law, as guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution, the statement said Monday.

Mr Olatunji, who was abducted from his home in Lagos on 15 March, was only released on 28 March.

“In accordance with 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 environment in accordance with Sections 22 and 39 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and advise all law enforcement, security, intelligence, military and other agencies accordingly,” their demands read in part.

The groups gave the federal government 14 days from Monday to address their demands.




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