Tony Ezimakor, the Abuja Bureau Chief of Independent Newspapers, is still being held by the Department of State Services (DSS) without charge, despite appeals by well-meaning individuals, activists and other groups.
All the rights activists, lawyers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and journalists, who commented on Ezimakor’s incarceration, have decried the shameful and undemocratic act by the DSS who spat on the laws of the land by holding him for days without arraigning him in court.
But yesterday marked the fifth day Ezimakor willingly walked into the head office of the DSS in Abuja, in response to an invitation from the security agency.
The Abuja-based journalist is being held purportedly over exclusive stories on Boko Haram campaign and the negotiations with Boko Haram insurgents.
Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), yesterday added its voice to the call on the DSS to immediately release the journalist.
According to the NGO, it is utterly shameful for state authorities to use punitive detention as a means of attempting to stifle truth, which is the raison d’être of Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution.
“It is, therefore, a despicable posture by the DSS to deprive the Nigerian citizen of his ‘right to know’ and the journalists’ right to freely express or publish facts together with his opinion on those facts.
“The DSS must quickly realise that it would be constituting itself into an enemy of democracy in a modern Nigeria if it begins to hound journalists either for their opinions or for publishing well-researched facts that have the potential of exposing corruption and grand deceit in official circles.
“Ezimakor’s published investigative report on the involvement of a Swiss Foreign Service agent, and the alleged clandestine payment of millions Euros by the Nigerian government to secure the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls, deserves commendation in a country as Nigeria where journalists are least motivated to be so professional,” CASER said.
Other groups that have added voice to the cry to have Ezimakor released include Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), OurMumuDonDo, a coalition of civil rights organisations led by Charlie Boy Oputa.
All their efforts have yielded no positive result as the security agency continues to hold on to Ezimakor.
On Saturday, the wife of the detained journalist, raised the alarm over the health of her husband.
Ezimakor is known to be hypertensive, but has been denied access to his doctor and medication.
DSS frustrated efforts by some members of NUJ and his church to see him by 2p.m yesterday.
Many commentators have warned Nigerians to be alert to the fact that detention of journalists without trial is a sign of the repression and strong-arm tactics that will increase as 2019 approaches.