FG Speaks On Arrest Of FIJ Journalist, Daniel Ojukwu

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The detention of Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), on cybercrime allegations has prompted a response from the Federal Government. Ojukwu’s disappearance on May 1 and his unavailability through his contact numbers caused concern among his family and friends.

According to FIJ, Ojukwu’s devices indicated that his last active location was in Isheri Olofin, Alimosho Local Government Area, where the police arrested him.

The foundation further revealed that Ojukwu’s family discovered he is being held by the intelligence response team (IRT) of the inspector-general of police (IGP) at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti area of Lagos.

Fisayo Soyombo, the founder of FIJ, expressed suspicion that Ojukwu’s arrest may be related to an investigative story he reported in November 2023.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) later confirmed that Ojukwu was arrested by operatives from the national cybercrime center in Abuja based on a petition filed against him.

During the NUJ Press Freedom and Good Governance Awards in Abuja, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, addressed the issue on Saturday night.

He stated that his ministry is actively working to resolve the concerns surrounding the journalist’s detention. Idris also emphasized that President Bola Tinubu’s administration is committed to ensuring that journalists can continue their work without hindrance or interruption.

He said:

 “I made a solemn pledge on the first day of assumption of duty that this indeed would be one the best times for media practitioners in this country because we would say it exactly as it is for you to report. Press freedom is very important to uphold. But I keep telling us also, reminding us that your freedom also has to go with enormous responsibility. You cannot allow purveyors of disinformation and fake news to occupy your space.

“I know that we have had some challenges, especially in the last couple of weeks concerning one journalist who has had some problems with the security agencies. That problem has been solved or is being solved. I’m being reminded by someone today that there’s another one. We are also working to ensure that one is also resolved.

“I am glad to report that UNESCO is coming up with a guide that would help all of us, especially practitioners in the social media to see that their work is done in a way and manner that is factual, honest, transparent, patriotic and also accountable to all Nigerians.

“My message here today is that much as the government is trying to ensure we have an enabling environment for all of you to practice this profession freely and unhindered, the responsibility is incumbent on all of us to also ensure that whatever we say, write and project is also truthful in the interest of our country.”

The minister said the government is trying to ensure that there is an enabling environment for all journalists to practice the profession freely and unhindered.

He added:

“The Nigerian press will continue to be free. Their work will continue unhindered and interrupted. The message that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has given you right from the time I was appointed as minister is that he is also a product of the free press and therefore, he would not allow during his tenure for a free press to be trampled upon.”

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