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Olatunji’s release: IPI, NGE, NUJ vow to take action against CDS, CDI



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**ask Tinubu to Protect Free press, Nigeria’s democracy against military misconduct

As Mr.Segun Olatunji, Editor of FirstNews regained freedom after he was reportedly whisked away from his home situated at Iyana Odo, Abule Egba area of Lagos State, after 14 days, the Nigerian media community has indicated that it is not yet uhuru for his tormentors..
The International Press Institute (IPI), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Thursday said they shall consult further in the next few days on the actions to take against the CDS, the CDI, and the military regarding this matter.
They asked the Tinubu Led Federal Government to protect the Nigerian democracy against military misconduct.
Addressing a press conference at FCT Council of NUJ, Utako, Abuja, to update members of the public about the abduction of the Editor, FirstNews, Mr. Segun Olatunji they also demand protection of free press from the government.
Olatunji, who was abducted by 10 fully armed military men and believed to have been taken into custody by the Defence Intelligence Agency regained his freedom after he was detained for 14 days.

Several appeals were made by the Nigerian National Committee of the International Press Institute (IPI Nigeria), Nigeria Guild of Editors and other organisations to 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, General Christopher Musa, to produce Segun Olatunji.

The secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Iyobosa Uwugiaren who addressed the press conference said the joint press conference was called to update members of the public on the ordeal of the Editor of FirstNews, Segun Olatunji, who armed people we earlier thought were non-state actors abducted from his home in Lagos on March 15.
He said, “In a statement issued by the management of FirstNews, Mr. Olatunji’s abduction was linked to a recent story published by the media organization titled, “Revealed: Defence Chief running office like family business Public Interest Lawyers.”

“Narrating the ugly incident, Mr. Olatunji’s wife, who witnessed the abduction of her husband, said the armed men stormed their residence a few minutes after 6 pm that day.
“She said on their arrival, the abductors immediately confiscated her husband’s telephone before shoving him into a van. She said she asked the abductors what her husband’s offence was and where they were taking him. The stern-looking men rebuffed her enquiries.

“For days, the Publisher of FirstNews, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, as well as Mr. Olatunji’s colleagues and family members, tried in vain to locate him. But those who abducted him ensured he was incommunicado. “They also ensured that no one knew his whereabouts, a development that further traumatised his family, employers and colleagues.

“For days, the leaderships of the IPI, the NGE and the NUJ frantically searched for Mr. Olatunji. We interacted with the presidency, the Nigeria Police Force (Lagos and Abuja), the Nigerian Army, the Defence Intelligence Agency, the Ministry of Interior, the Defence Headquarters, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Information and National Orientation, and the State Security Services (SSS). “Other security agencies were also contacted. But all the efforts failed until last night. The military claimed the journalist was not in their custody. They lied to us and top government officials whose interventions we sought.

“However, on Monday, IPI Nigeria was able to determine (without doubt) that the journalist was being detained and tortured by the Defence Intelligence Agency in Abuja.
“The IPI then informed the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa and the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Major General Emmanuel Undiandeye, of its finding and asked them to release our colleague immediately.
“We also provided that information to top government officials who also reached out to Generals Musa and Undiandeye. Again, they lied that the journalist was not in their custody. Yet our sources were telling us we needed to act fast to save our colleague from being killed.

“That was what culminated in the IPI Nigeria’s press statement of Wednesday, which clearly accused the DIA of abducting and detaining Mr. Olatunji.
“Once that statement circulated in the media, the anti-democratic officers became jittery. They became even more confused after they became aware that the NGE, the NUJ, and the IPI had scheduled a follow-up press conference for this morning. “Knowing the game was up. they admitted their crime last night. They confessed to the Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, that our colleague was in their custody and that they would release him immediately.

“At this point, we want to put on record the important role played by the Minister of Information and other top officials of government towards the resolution of this matter.
“These reckless and anti-media officers, who apparently have no respect for civilian authorities, lied to and disobeyed officials of the federal government who intervened.

“We are sure that many right-thinking members of society, including the international community, are both amazed and shocked by the lawlessness and fear-provoking action of the DIA – an agency under the command of Major General Undiandeye, who reports directly to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Musa.

“The DIA’s action makes us wonder about its real intention. Our suspicion is that they planned to secretly eliminate Mr. Olatunji so that members of the public could attribute his disappearance to unknown gunmen. But we are glad they failed.

“For us, this vicious, uncivilized, unlawful and criminal action of the DIA is unacceptable. The action is alien to Nigeria’s democratic space. It is now clear that there are some officers in our military who are still finding it difficult to subject themselves to civil authority 24 years after our country returned to representative governance.

“We do not think this kind of attitude should be condoned by President Bola Tinubu, particularly, and Nigerians, in general. If officers in a military institution like DIA could hack a journalist’s telephone, mishandle his wife, abduct him, detain him secretly for 12 days and disobey senior officials of the federal government, then our democracy cannot be said to be safe.

“Although our colleague has now been released, we are calling on President Tinubu to ensure that these officers are punished for their bad behaviour. By all standards, the actions of the DIA, General Musa and Major General Undiandeye are against the provisions of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and other international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory – which forbid the detention of any citizen or resident beyond 48 hours, except with a valid court order.

“More so, the DIA’s action is a direct attack on press freedom. One of the core missions of the free press is to serve as a watchdog on power. The press, as we all know, is the connection between the people and the government. If the press is not allowed to carry out its social and constitutional responsibilities but instead obligated to power, it simply serves as an extension of power.
“Without freedom of the press, our democracy is endangered. In the case of corruption, a free press is critical to exposing abuses of power. For sure, the media is not above the law, but in a democracy, the only way to determine wrong or right is through the legal process,

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NUJ FCT grieves over demise of Ace Sport writer, Albert Akota




Late Albert Akota
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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council has expressed shock over the death of ace sport writter and Chairman of Peoples Daily Chapel of NUJ FCT Council Alber Akota describing it as a great loss to the union and journalism profession.

In a statement released Sunday in Abuja, jointly signed by Comrades Osaretin Osadebamwen and Ochiaka Ugwu, Chairman and Secretary of Council respectively, it noted that council received the news of the death of the ace sportswriter with rude shock.

It stated that the late Akota was not only a strong member of the council, who never missed any council’s activities, but a committed comrade who was always desirous to lend a helping hand to colleagues whenever the need arises.

According to the statement, “The former Sport Editor would be remembered for his invaluable contributions to the growth of the journalism profession, and NUJ as umbrella body of all practicing journalists.

“It is a sad and grieving moment for the NUJ family and Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in particular. It is more worrying that he died when his services were most needed by the council and his medium, Peoples Daily.

“Akota was a dedicated newsman, an exemplary, unpretentious and hard-working Journalist, who discharged his duties with diligence, devotion and integrity.

“Akota was modest, calm and gentle during his lifetime and would be greatly missed by his colleagues and fans.

“Make no mistake about it, the council had lost an industrious and active member to the cold hands of death. It was more painful that he died when his services were mostly needed”.

It would be recalled that Akota died at the early hours of Saturday March 16 after a protracted illness and was survived by his wife and three children.

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NGE President charges Gov. Ododo to consolidate on Bello’s legacies




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***says Kogi is working in terms of infrastructure, Health

By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

President of the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr Eze Anaba has charged Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo of Kogi State to consolidate and improve on the level of infrastructural development attained under the last administration of governor Yahaya Bello.

Anaba made the call on Saturday in Okene while on tour of on-going projects by the present administration of Governor Ododo and the Legacy Projects of the immediate past administration of former Governor Yahaya Bello in the state.

Anaba noted that the immediate past administration left a legacy worthy of emulation adding that the good work of former Governor Bello should be sustained by the present administration.

“Government is a continuum. And I would advise the current governor, to follow the footsteps of his predecessor.

“It’s only in that way that the citizenry will benefit. Kogi State will continue to grow and people will reckon that democracy has taken root in Kogi State and the people are benefiting.

“At the end of the day, governance is about the people. So, from what I’ve seen, from what my colleagues saw, I think Kogi is working in terms of infrastructure and in terms of medical care that I saw.

Speaking on the Reference Hospital, Okene, Anaba said, “From a layman’s perspective, I’m not a doctor, but from what the doctors have told me and from what I saw, it’s been hugely impressive.

“The MRI machine, the other laboratory equipments, very, very impressive. And I have to commend the Kogi State government for making this available. And I also suggest that people should put this to test.

“And if these things work, they will save Nigeria a huge sum of money. Recently, the CBN governor told the whole world that medical tourism alone is costing this country fortunes.

“So, if people test and try this, I’m sure it will save this country a lot of money and put our economy in good stead. You also know that healthy citizens make a great country. And I’m sure that if these things continue, with what we have seen here, Nigerians will be happier for it”, he said.

On his general assessment of the legacy and on-going projects, the NGE President said, “I think Kogi is working in terms of infrastructure

“Democracy is about the people and the facilities we have seen, the road construction we saw and the traffic time they have saved people of Kogi State and Nigeria in general…

“That alone will help the country boost our economy and help the citizens. People waste and lose lives in traffic. If the road network is strong like we saw, I am sure Nigeria will be better for it.

“I am highly commending the state government for what me and my team have seen so far* he said. (Ends)

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Ribadu, Akume, Wike to grace National Security Summit in Abuja Next Thursday




George Akume
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The National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume and the minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesom Wike are expected to grace a national Security Conference in Abuja next Thursday.

The event which is being organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in partnership with the New National Star Newspaper with the Theme National Security and Development, will have as the Guest Speaker, former Inspector-General of Police and current Chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC)
Dr. Solomon Arase
He will speak on “Citizen Engagement in the fight against crime and criminalities in Nigeria.
Speaking at a press briefing on Monday at the NUJ national headquarters in Abuja, the Managing Director Editor-in-Chief New National Star Newspapers, Obinna Nwachukwu said the conference is designed to address the growing insecurity in Nigeria.

“As you are aware, in more than a decade now, Security has become a major issue in Nigeria. No where is safe. Even Abuja and the FCT the nation’s capital is not safe like before.
“But one thing is clear, although insecurity is everywhere in the country, still, each region/zone has its own peculiar security issues.
“In the South-South it is crude oil theft, oil bunkering and sea pirates. In the South East is the menace of the now infamous “ unknown gun men”.
“In the North East is Boko Haram /terrorism, North West is illegal oil mining while North Central is Farmers/Herders crisis etc
“However, in all these zones, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder are common experiences .”
According to him, the conference is designed to bring all key stakeholders together to address the issues with a view to finding a lasting, workable solutions.

“It is part of our contributions to societal growth and development. It shall bring together, security stakeholders, professionals, political leaders, Civil society Organizations, journalists, community and religious leaders, citizens and residents in the country, with the aim of reaching out to each other to collectively addressing the growing insecurity in the country .
He said, Senator George Akume, has accepted to chair the conference while Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is the Special Guest of Honour

He listed Sub themes and Speakers to include finding Lasting solution to security Challenges in Nigeria the Role of Political, Religious and Community Leaders by H.E Ambassador Godknows .O. Igali, PhD, OON, Pro-Chancellor & Chairman Governing Council, FUTA
“Intelligence gathering and Information sharing as critical aspects of National Security by Chief Ray Nkemdirim, MFR, Former Director (Operations) DSS
“Combating Cyber security and Internet Fraud in Nigeria by Hon. Shade Adepeju Joseph, Cyber Security Consultant
“The role of the Media in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria by Dr. Iyobosa Uwujaren, General-Secretary, Nigerian Guild of Editors and Combating Crude oil theft in the Niger Delta: The Tantita experience by a representative of the company.

According to him, the conference will foster connection among citizens and critical stakeholders, security administrators and leaders.
“Through knowledge sharing and collaboration, ideas leading to strategic resolutions will be developed, with agreed mechanisms for implementation, towards safeguarding our environment and restoring security and safety in the nation. “By coming together, we will share insights on how we, as individuals, community and organizations should respond to incidents and the role and responsibilities we have to secure our communities.
The conference which take place at NAF conference center, Abuja by 9am Thursday next week is expected to have in attendance Heads of all security agencies, the National Security Adviser and other critical security stakeholders, heads of paramilitary agencies, representatives of local community policing groups, Area Council Chairmen in FCT, community leaders, heads of academic institutions, residential estate representatives, heads of identified professional groups and other strategic persons.
NUJ National President, Chris Isiguzor said the issue of security is everybody’s business so everybody must have to be involved in one way or the other. “When you talk about the media having responsibility the responsibility of informing, it imply means we must pass the right information. It is also our duty to educate, we must properly educate our people and when the tension is so high it is also our responsibility to also entertain to douse the tension.
“So you can see from any flank you are looking at it the media is a strategic stakeholder in building a clime that is safe, environment friendly for everybody to dwell in and for business to thrive.
“That is why we are not just sitting idle watching and do nothing. This time around the media, we are rising to the ocasion to at least congregate Nigerians.
“Let us come together to discuss this very important issue that is facing all of us, the issue of security and by the time we are done, whatever resolution, whatever is the communique that will come up from this we will also pass same to government whose responsibility it is to ensure that there is safety, there is peace, there is tranquility.”

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