The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, has condemned the recent arrest of the NewsDigest publisher, Gidado Yushau, by the police over an investigative report on an Ilorin-based factory belonging to a former acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sera Alade.
Recall that on Tuesday, men of the Nigerian police attached to the Kwara State Command had invaded the Abuja residence of the online publisher and arrested him, a few days after arresting his webmaster, Debowale Adekoye.
However, in a statement on Thursday, the CISLAC’s executive-director, Auwal Rafsanjani, expressed his worries over the recent but alarming arrest and detention of Nigerian journalists, as expressed in a report by Amnesty International.
Mr Rafsanjani described Gidado as a publisher who had been in the fore front of training young investigative journalists on accountability in the public sector.
According to him, Gidado’s commitment to the development of young journalists in the country could be seen in his annual ‘Campus Investigative Journalists Workshop’, where campus students were trained on effective reportage.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the last workshop was organized by CISLAC in collaboration with Youth Digest.
He said: “This is in addition to the Campus Journalism Awards, where best performing Campus Journalists were rewarded and encouraged in January 2019.
“We are not unaware of the media role in influencing public opinion, shaping political agenda, providing a link between the government and the people, while acting as the government watchdog in advancing good governance.”
He continued: “We also recall the crucial importance of the media in the promotion of democracy and rule of law; just as media is indispensable for people to be informed and to effectively participate in a democracy.
“It is on this premise that CISLAC will continue to support young investigative journalists to pursue various legal means to expose corruption and illegalities in our society, as this forms the basis of good governance, transparency and accountability CISLAC advocates and upholds.”
Meanwhile, a report reaching DAILY NIGERIAN indicated that the online publisher and his webmaster had been released by the police.
The Chairman Board of Directors of Image Merchants Promotions Limited, IMPR, the parent company of the NewsDigest and publishers of PRNigeria, Dr. Sule Yau Sule made the disclosure this morning.
Mr Sule said, after preliminary interrogation of the two NewsDigest’s workers, both Gidado and Adekoya, were released on bail, but asked to return next Monday with Alfred Olufemi for further questioning.
The board chairmna said the condition of one of the released staff, who was seriously sick, worsened during the long journeys and detention by the Police.
“There is the need for the released staff to be given urgent and proper treatment, after a thorough medical examination might have been conducted on them.”
The chairman, who condemned the arrest and detention of the two young men, said whatever reservation the agency might have on any news published, proper and civilised channels are there for a complaint to be made.
“Living in a society where freedom of expression and association is said to be guarded only for the security agencies to trample on such privilege is condemnable and unacceptable.
“There many agencies whose responsibilities are to check the excesses of the media, then why the haste in hauling innocent journalists behind the bar,” he said.