OrderPaperToday – A group of media and civil society organizations known as The Coalition for Press Freedom and Whistleblower Protection (CPFWP) has expressed deep concern over the “arrest, detention and unwarranted trauma meted out to the Elombah brothers by officers of the Nigeria Police Force at the behest of the Inspector General, Mr. Ibrahim Idris.”
The group in a press statement said that the action of the police is an ‘affront’ against free speech and press freedom in the country and urged the Police to desist from such acts.
According the coalition, Daniel Elombah, publisher of online medium, elombah.com, was arrested alongside his brother, Tim by operatives of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police during a combative invasion of their country home in the early hours of New Year’s day at Anambra State.
The group adds that the Elombah family including children were subjected to a traumatic experience of fence-scaling and sporadic gun-shots by the operatives who were initially thought to be kidnappers or men of the underworld.
Furthermore, the coalition disclosed that Daniel Elombah and his brother, Tim were driven to Abuja and subsequently detained in dehumanizing conditions at the notorious ‘Abattoir’ facility of SARS without being told the offences for which they were arrested. Daniel was later released later that night and made to submit to further investigations, while his brother continues to be held by the police in connection with an opinion article purported to be offensive to the IG of Police.
“Curiously, neither Daniel nor Tim authored the said article which by the way was not published on elombah.com but on another online platform.
“The Coalition condemns this high-handed and blatant show of force and impunity against the online media owners by the Police. It is of grave concern that the alleged offences which are civil in nature have attracted the visitation of state powers to criminalize and personalize what ought to be the personal hassle of Mr. Idris.”
The group therefore called on the appropriate authorities of the federal government as well as the international community to take note and intervene in the matter.
“While we acknowledge that the media and journalists are not above the law, any redress against perceived libellous content should be sought within the ambit of the law,” the coalition said.