Human RightsNews

CPJ Reacts As Police Release Peoples Gazette’s Journalists

Aside from failing to protect journalists and investigative reporting platforms, authorities are increasingly trying to silence the media in Nigeria.

The five journalists arrested by police during a raid at Peoples Gazette Newspaper Head Office located in the Utako area of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Friday, July 22, have been released, HumAngle learnt. 

The journalists, John Adenekan (Assistant Managing editor), Ameedat Adeyemi, Grace Oke, Sammy Ogbu, and Justina Tayani, working with the online platform, were released to Ken Eluma Asogwa, the newspaper’s lawyer. 

Sources informed HumAngle that police arrested the journalists because of a criminal defamation complaint filed by Tukur Buratai, an ex-Nigerian army chief, over a report by Peoples Gazette published on June 23.

The report was about an alleged raid by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) at a property suspected to belong to Buratai. 

Reacting to the incident, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), in a statement by Angela Quintal, its Africa program coordinator, said the raid was a gross overreaction and a direct attack on freedom of the press in Nigeria.

“There is no reason for Nigerian police to arrest journalists over their reporting. But, unfortunately, it happens far too often in the country, and authorities should act swiftly to reverse this trend,” she warned.

Media groups and local journalism unions have been advocating for the protection of journalists in Nigeria. As a result, Nigeria ranks 120 out of 180 countries on The World Press Freedom Index Reporters Without Borders.

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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