The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened to sue President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over the arrest of one of the editors of Peoples Gazette newspaper, John Adenekan.
The Nigeria police raided Peoples Gazette newspaper’s office in Abuja on Friday and arrested one of its editors, John Adenekan. Shortly after Adenekan’s arrest, the operatives returned to arrest four more journalists.
Adenekan was arrested at about 12:35 pm by five armed police officers who broke into the newspaper’s office at Plot 1095, Umar Shuaibu Avenue, Utako.
The security operatives were said to have demanded to see the Managing Editor, Samuel Ogundipe and a reporter Adefemola Akintade, who wrote a report on former Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai.
SERAP, therefore, asked President Buhari to order the immediate release of Adenekan, threatening to commence legal action if the arrested journalists are not released.
“The Buhari administration must immediately and unconditionally release Peoples Gazette’s editor, John Adenekan, who was reportedly arrested today by the police following a raid on their office in Abuja.
“We’ll take legal action if he is not immediately released,” SERAP tweeted on Friday afternoon.
The invasion comes a few days after an Abuja-based Publisher and a proxy of a Buratai, Isah Bello sued Peoples Gazette for allegedly defaming the Ambassador to Benin Republic.
The newspaper on June 23 reported that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) raided and recovered items including 50 luxury watches from a purported residence of Buratai.
But Bello, in the suit before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, claimed the newspaper failed to respond to a letter dated June 28, 2022 seeking to clarify the source of its story.
According to him, the failure to respond to the inquiry was a violation of section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and therefore is wrongful and illegal.
Filed by Osuagwu Ugochukwu, the publisher asked the court to prevail on the defendant to supply the information requested in his letter.
“The plaintiff claims against the defendant as follows: A declaration that the refusal, failure and or neglect by the defendant to release the information requested by the plaintiff in his letter, dated June 28, 2022, amounts to violation of Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, and therefore is wrongful and illegal,” part of the court documents published in some national dailies had read.
“An order directing the defendant, including her servants, agents, privies, officials and or cohorts to furnish the plaintiff with detailed information as stated in plaintiff’s letter, dated June 28 2022, until judgment is delivered in this case within 14 days of the delivery of judgment.”
Saharareporters, new York