The Nigerian National Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI Nigeria) has again raised the alarm over the safety of journalists in the country, and has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, to order the immediate release of a detained journalist, Daniel Ojukwu, with immediate effect or face “serious consequences.”

This followed the report of the abduction of Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ).

A statement by Musikilu Mojeed, President, IPI Nigeria, said that “according to reports, Ojukwu was abducted by the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector General of Police and is currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti in Lagos.

“IPI Nigeria strongly condemns the abduction and calls on the Inspector General of Police to, with immediate effect, order the release of Mr. Ojukwu,” the Institute said, insisting that, “coming at about the period the world is celebrating the freedom of the press, the action of the Nigeria Police Force speaks volumes of the attitude and commitment of law enforcement agencies in Nigeria to the freedom of the press.

“Some weeks ago, the Nigerian military abducted a journalist, Mr. Segun Olatunji, in a Gestapo manner in Lagos and flew him to Abuja under humiliating conditions in apparent violation of his rights to dignity and expression.

“With the two incidents cited above, a pattern has emerged that points to the fact that the administration of President Bola Tinubu does not only condone repression of freedom of the press but also encourages it, in contradiction of promises made during the president’s inaugural speech that his administration would uphold fundamental human rights.

“We have always stated, and it bears repeating that in a democratic setting, the proper step to take is to follow due process in seeking remedies against journalists.

“It amounts to an abuse of his powers and office for the Inspector General of Police to order the abduction of a journalist just because he is the overall head of the Nigeria Police Force.

“IPI Nigeria calls on President Tinubu to sanction the Inspector General of Police, having failed to lead by example. Nobody is above the law.

“Human rights violations have continued unabated because perpetrators are hardly held to account. It is time to begin holding those suppressing freedom of expression to account.

“Daniel Ojukwu should be released immediately, or else the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, will be included in IPI Nigeria’s book of infamy and branded an enemy of the media and journalists. His inclusion on the list carries serious consequences beyond the shores of Nigeria,” the statement concluded.