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BudgIT to Tinubu: Direct IGP to release Daniel Ojukwu

Daniel Ojukwu Daniel Ojukwu

BudgIT, a civic-tech organisation, has asked President Bola Tinubu to direct Kayode Egbetokun, the inspector-general of police, to release Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ).

BACKGROUND

Ojukwu has been in police custody since May 1 after he was “abducted” in Lagos.

The family of the journalist and FIJ management were not aware of his whereabouts until 48 hours after he was declared missing.

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The journalist was not allowed to communicate with family and friends as his mobile gadgets were seized.

Muyiwa Adejobi, police public relations officer (PPRO), said the journalist has a case to answer over alleged violation of sections of the Cybercrime Prohibition Act 2015.

Providing an update on the incident, Bukky Shonibare, chairperson of FIJ’s board of trustees, said the journalist has been moved from the national cybercrime centre in Abuja to the force criminal investigation department.

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Shonibare confirmed that Ojukwu is being held over a report he authored on contract procurement by the office of the senior special assistant to the president on sustainable development goals (OSSAP-SDGs), headed by Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, a former deputy governor of Lagos state.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Seun Onigbinde, director of BudgIT, said Ojukwu’s detention is a violation of his fundamental human rights.

“Just like his family and friends, our community was shocked by Daniel’s sudden disappearance on May 1, 2024, without any prior communication,” Onigbinde said.

“Such actions are unacceptable and violates the fundamental human rights enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several sections of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended).

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“It is troubling that the authorities have disregarded the constitution they swore to uphold by subjecting Daniel to false imprisonment.

“These actions go against the purported image of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, especially coming on the heels of World Press Freedom Day.

“We urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene immediately and instruct the Inspector General of Police to release Daniel Ojukwu without delay.

“Furthermore, we encourage the authorities to cease their unconstitutional actions and respect the rights of journalists and whistleblowers in Nigeria.

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“We condemn this gross violation of human rights and all unjust actions targeted at journalists for their commitment to truth and transparency.”

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