The Arrest Of Journalist Daniel Ojukwu

Nmesoma Okwudili


May 11, 2024

In a united cry for justice, opposition leaders and activists in Nigeria have called for the immediate release of Daniel Ojukwu, a distinguished journalist associated with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ). The abrupt abduction of Ojukwu on Wednesday has caused a great deal of alarm among journalists, especially in Lagos, the nation’s thriving economic hub.


When the disturbing news of Ojukwu’s arrest broke on Friday, his coworkers and family were inconsolable. Reliable sources state that he was detained by the government on suspicion of violating Nigeria’s Cybercrime Act, a law that has been widely criticized for potentially restricting free speech.

Ojukwu’s arrest, reportedly conducted by the Nigerian police, underscores a concerning trend of targeting journalists and media personnel. The timing and circumstances surrounding his detention raise serious questions about the state of press freedom and the protection of journalists’ rights in Nigeria.

Recent updates indicate that Ojukwu was subsequently transferred to the Nigeria Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC), heightening concerns about his well-being and the transparency of legal proceedings. His prolonged detention without due process further exacerbates fears of government overreach and the arbitrary use of legislation to suppress dissenting voices.

FIJ reports suggest that the journalist’s arrest stems from an investigative article he wrote last November, which delved into the activities of a high-ranking government official.

In response to a petition filed against him, the Nigerian police confirmed Ojukwu’s incarceration and stated that he is now under investigation. It is noteworthy that the identity of the petitioner remains unknown.

Following Ojukwu’s arrest, his family, civil society organizations, and media advocacy groups have vigorously campaigned for his swift release across numerous social media channels.

Unsettlingly, data from the Committee to Protect Journalists shows that since Nigeria’s Cybercrime Act was passed in 2015, at least 25 journalists have been prosecuted under it. Among them, eight were arrested under President Bola Tinubu’s administration, which initially claimed to support press freedom when it took office less than a year ago. This claim was reaffirmed during the most recent World Press Freedom Day celebrations.

Atiku Abubakar, a prominent Nigerian opposition figure and former Vice-President, strongly condemned the arrest of Daniel Ojukwu, underlining the indispensable role journalists play in maintaining government transparency and accountability. His vocal denouncement adds weight to the growing chorus of voices demanding justice for Ojukwu and highlighting the pivotal role of a free press in any democracy.

Joining the outcry, Amnesty International characterized Ojukwu’s detention as “draconian,” thrusting the case into the spotlight amidst global observances of World Press Freedom Day on May 3. The international community’s attention underscores the significance of upholding press freedoms not only in Nigeria but around the world.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, continues to struggle with press freedom, ranking 112th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Despite recent amendments to the Cybercrime Act aimed at mitigating harsh provisions, authorities continue to leverage it to stifle dissenting voices and muzzle critical journalism, as noted by the Nigeria office of Amnesty International.

The Nigerian legal framework stipulates that suspects must be charged or released within 48 hours of arrest. However, Ojukwu languished in custody without access to communication or legal counsel until his third day of detention, as revealed by Oke Ridwan, a human rights lawyer who visited him at the police station.

Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris Malagi, assured The Associated Press that steps are being taken to rectify the situation and reiterated his commitment to doing so. However, local and international civil society organizations have condemned Ojukwu’s incarceration and highlighted the need for swift and transparent measures to defend journalistic freedoms and uphold human rights in Nigeria and beyond.


Journalist Daniel Ojukwu’s sudden disappearance and relocation to Abuja’s NPF-NCCC without explanation spark concerns about press freedom and journalist safety.… Source: Nigerian Bulletin

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