BREAKING: Coalition Berates Nigerian Police Over Unlawful Detention Of Daily Times Journalist Gabriel Idibia - Reportgist

BREAKING: Coalition Berates Nigerian Police Over Unlawful Detention Of Daily Times Journalist Gabriel Idibia

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The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) has strongly condemned the attack on Gabriel Idibia – a Kaduna State correspondent for Daily Times Newspaper – by personnel of the state police command on June 11, 2024.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

In a statement sent to SaharaReporters on Sunday, the coalition urged the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and ensure that all those involved in the unlawful arrest and assault of Mr. Idibia are sanctioned.

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The coalition emphasised the crucial role journalists play as the conscience of a nation, describing it as essential to democracy. It described the attack on the journalist as a violation of press freedom and human rights, adding that journalists must be protected, not attacked for democracy to function.

It called for legal sanctions against the officers involved and an end to police intimidation of journalists.

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On June 18, the journalist sustained an eye injury following his arrest, torture and inhuman treatment at the hands of the security operatives.

According to the statement, Mr. Idibia confirmed to the Centre for Journalism, Innovation and Development (CJID) that he was arrested and taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) police station, Gabasawa, while photographing a large herd of cattle being escorted by police on Kachia expressway, a busy road in the state.

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It said, “He was thereafter taken into custody and brutally beaten up. Mr Idibia insists that the physical torture severely affected his eyes forcing him to access eye treatment. His allegations have been corroborated by media reports and an eyewitness that was arrested along with him.

“Before his arbitrary arrest, Mr Idibia had presented his ID card to the police officers to identify himself as a journalist trying to cover the blockage of the Kachia expressway by the herd of cattle led by the same policemen.

“He was however denied an audience by the belligerent officers who asked him to leave the scene of the incident for no reason. The police officers thereafter seized his mobile phone and identity card when Mr. Idibia tried to take a picture of the road blockage and took him to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) police station, Gabasawa where he was detained from morning till late in the evening.

“Mr Idibia further said that the policemen forced him to write a statement without access to his lawyers or colleagues.”

He was quoted as telling CJID that on getting to the police station, “one of the officers who brought me to the station punched me in the face, and hit one of my eyes, leaving me almost blinded”.

The coalition further noted that in a phone conversation with the CJID, the spokesperson for the Kaduna State Police Command, ASP Mansir Hassan, confirmed the unlawful arrest and detention, but noted that he saw no sign of assault on Mr Idibia when he met him after his release from custody.

He, however, did not deny his unlawful arrest and detainment, the coalition said.

The journalist said he was eventually granted bail on self-recognizance.

It said, “We find it rather disturbing that men of the Nigeria Police Force not only arrested Mr. Idibia unlawfully but also resorted to assaulting him for simply performing his constitutionally guaranteed duties as a journalist.

“This is certainly not a practice welcomed in a democratic state like Nigeria and it stands condemned in strong terms.

“The attack on Mr. Idibia is a violation of his fundamental human rights. It also constitutes an outright infringement on press freedom and the public’s rights to information and expression.

“Mr Idibia has further alleged that the Police has threatened to indict and label him a bandit.

“We urge the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kayode Egbetokun, to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted into the matter and that all officers involved in the unlawful arrest and assault of Mr Gabriel Idibia be made to face the appropriate legal sanctions.

“Journalists play an essential role without which democracy cannot function; therefore, they must be protected and not attacked by the police and all other security agencies.”

The statement was signed by CWPPF Secretariat and coalition members – Civic Media Lab, Premium Times, Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation, Daily Trust Newspaper, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), among others.

Others are Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), International Press Centre (IPC), International Press Institute (IPI), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Paradigm Initiative, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), HEDA Resource Centre; WikkiTimes, Global Rights, Dataphyte Foundation, Accountability Lab Nigeria (FOLEGAL), Women Radio 91.7 FM, Inibehe Effiong Chambers, BUK TV & RADIO, The Jurist Newspaper Limited, Freedom Radio and Kano Citizens Gavel Foundation for Social Justice.>>>CONTINUE FULL READING HERE

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