On Wednesday evening, the 15th of August 2018, Jones Abiri, a Nigerian journalist detained for over two years was released after he met his bail conditions.
The Coalition for Whistleblower Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) is excited about the release of Jones Abiri and the long agitated opportunity for him to reunite with his family, colleagues and the general public. However, we would like to bring it to your attention that Jones Abiri should have never been arrested and kept in custody for two years without charges and without contact with his family.
It should be noted that the State Security Service and by implication the Federal Government violated the Sections 35, 36 and 39 of the Nigerian constitution and disregarded the rule of law in the manner it handled Jones Abiri’s case.
The two-year arrest is unlawful, unwarranted and unjustifiable, we urge that all charges against him be dropped. In line with Section 35(6) of the constitution, we hereby call on the government to make a public apology and pay him a compensation for the unwarranted violation of his rights, the damage to his business and losses arising therefrom, the disruption of his family life for two years, the physical and psychological trauma to which he has been subjected and the repercussions he will live with for the rest of his life.
The coalition would like to bring to the attention of the general public the importance of a free press in any democracy so that it may function and fulfil its constitutional duties. The coalition calls on the government to protect the press and not let its oppressors thrive in impunity.
The coalition in the same breathe calls for the immediate release of Premium Times journalist Samuel Ogundipe who has been kept in SARS custody and refused access to his lawyer. This violation of our democracy and our human rights must be addressed.
The Coalition for Whistleblower Protection and Press Freedom0