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General News of Tuesday, 14 June 2022


NAJUC condemns illegal detention and harassment of Journalist

Court file photo Court file photo

The National Association of Judiciary Correspondents, NAJUC, has condemned the unlawful harassment and detention of its members, especially that of the Publisher of Royal Times Magazine, Ranti Alaba Thomas, by men of the Nigeria Police, Lagos Command.

Mr Thomas, now released, was kept in a Police underground detention camp for four days without any trace by members of his family and colleagues.

In a statement jointly signed by its Chairmen, Lagos and Ikeja, Mr Peter Fowoyo and Wahab Akinlade, the Association said the detention of Mr Thomas by security operatives was illegal and unconstitutional, thereby violating his right to freedom of expression guaranteed under the Constitution.

The Journalists have a constitutional obligation to report issues of interest to the public, and should not be barred or harassed in the course of such reportorial duties the statement said.

The Association urged men of the Nigeria Police as well as Government officials, to uphold democratic principles and refrain from abusive use of power, while at the same time calling on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to investigate the maltreatment and illegal detention of Mr Thomas for four days without valid reasons.

Families and friends of the Publisher of Royal Times Magazine were thrown into confusion on June 3, 2022, when he was cruelly abducted at gun point by men of Nigeria Police, who kept him incommunicado for 72 hours.

Immediately after the power-drunk Policemen abducted Mr Thomas, his cellphone was taken away from him and his sim card was also removed, making it difficult for sister security agencies to track him down, the statement further added.

According to information, the NAJUC members gathered from family sources that, Ranti Thomas left his office on Friday on an invite to meet someone who called him on his cellphone but didn’t return until Monday.

However, his colleagues reached out to relevant security agencies, and were told that his telephone was switched off, and was last active on Friday when he was abducted at gunpoint.

“On Monday evening, the NAJUC Chairman of the Ikeja Branch, Wahab Akinlade, received a call from an unknown caller who identified himself as a Police Inspector from the State Command, asking him to report at the Tracking Unit to secure his bail.

“The Chairman, accompanied by other colleagues, reported at the said unit to see their missing colleague looking sick in the custody of the same Police authority that was reported to for search hunt.

It will be remembered Justice Chizoba Orji of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, sitting at Maitama on Tuesday of last week also ordered six Judiciary correspondents to be detained for over two hours, for what she called unlawful coverage of her court proceedings.

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