Nigeria: Military Bows to Pressure, Releases Abducted Editor

28 March 2024

Segun Olatunji, Editor of FirstNews Online Newspaper, has regained freedom after spending 12 days in custody.

Gunmen in military uniform had invaded Olatunji's residence at Iyana Odo, Abule Egba area of Lagos state, on March 15, and abducted him.

While the journalist's family did not receive any communication from his abductors, the management of the media platform linked the incident to a story published by FirstNews.

Concerns about his location continued until the International Press Institute (IPI Nigeria) said its checks showed the editor was in custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), an agency under the command of Major General Emmanuel Undiandeye, who, in turn, reports to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Chris Musa.

Hours after the IPI made this disclosure, the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, told some editors that the military had confirmed that the editor was in their custody.

Meanwhile, in a strongly-worded statement on Wednesday, IPI called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to activate the powers of his office as Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to direct the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to produce Olatunji.

"IPI Nigeria has received inquiries about this matter from all over the world. The Institute has also contacted the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Army, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Defence Headquarters, and the Ministry of Information and National Orientation seeking information on Mr Olatunji and demanding his release. All efforts in this direction have so far failed."

"That has triggered speculations among journalists and human rights activists around the world that the Nigerian military may be keeping some vital information away from the public concerning the journalist's safety.

"IPI is therefore calling on President Tinubu to direct the Nigerian military authorities to immediately release Mr Olatunji or charge him to court if he has committed any offence. The international community should also pay attention to the unjust detention of Mr. Olatunji by the Nigerian military," read the statement signed by IPI President, Musikilu Mojeed, and Tobi Soniyi, its secretary.

On Thursday morning, Olatunji was released to the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), according a message by the Secretary of the Guild, Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren.

AllAfrica publishes around 400 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.