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The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) is concerned about the reported arrest and continued detention of Mr Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), for alleged violation of the 2015 Cybercrime act by the Nigeria Police.

According to a report by the FIJ, Mr Ojukwu was abducted by the police on Wednesday, May 1, and his phones have since been switched off and whereabouts undisclosed.

His family only got wind of his whereabouts on Friday, May 3 2024, that he is being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti in Lagos.

In a phone conversation with CJID, the Lagos state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Benjamin Hundeyin confirmed that Mr Ojukwu was arrested by men of the National Cybercrime Centre (NCCC) of the Nigerian Police and is detained at the facilities of the Lagos state Police Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti.

CWPPF condemns the arrest and continued detention of Mr. Ojukwu. Arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists remain unacceptable as it negates the basic principles of democracy.

The arrest and continued detention of Mr Ojukwu is not only a violation of his fundamental human rights but also an assault on press freedom.

We call on the Nigerian police to immediately release Mr. Daniel Ojukwu and follow legal procedures to engage him.

We also call on the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the Cybercrime act 2015 ceases to be a weapon used in the harassment and arbitrarily detainment of journalists and media workers. We make this call based on past instances where the Cybercrime law has been used to criminalise journalism, harass and detain them.

We reiterate that such intimidation constitutes an attack on press freedom and the right of the people to information.

The Nigerian Police in this instance must therefore avoid using the Cybercrimes Act to suppress investigative journalism aimed at entrenching a transparent and accountable system.

Journalism plays a critical role in democracy, and such actions are bound to undermine its core principles.

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