- HURIWA condemns arrest
John Shiklam in Kaduna
A reporter with Leadership Newspapers in Kaduna, Midat Joseph, was thursday arrested by the police.
He was arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) as he was leaving the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Kaduna at about 5p.m.
He was taken to the Metro Police Station, Panteka, Kaduna, where he is being detained. No reason was given for his arrest.
All efforts to reach the spokesman of the state police command, Usman Aliyu, on the issue were fruitless as he did respond to phone calls by THISDAY.
The Kaduna State Council of the NUJ was however making frantic efforts to find out the cause of the arrest.
The Chairman of the council, Yusuf Adamu, said the council was billed to see the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Agyole Abeh, over the issue.
“We don’t know why he was arrested and we want to see the police commissioner to find out the reasons for the arrest. We will brief our members after seeing the police commissioner,” the NUJ chairman said.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the arrest as a serious sign of growing intolerance of freedom of expression by the state government.
It stated that the state government under the current dispensation has gone haywire in clamping into detention too many persons with difference of opinion from the state governor especially “because of the failure of both the state and federal government to contain the sporadic violent attacks of Southern Kaduna communities by armed Fulani herdsmen who are kinsmen of the state governor.”
HURIWA which made the observation in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, affirmed that the constant harassment of dissent voices and media professionals by the state government under El-Ruffai does not augur well for a nation that claims to be practicing constitutional democracy.
The rights group said democracy thrives only when the basic freedoms guaranteed and provided for by the constitution and several global human rights laws are respected and complied especially by those who wield temporary political power.
HURIWA which demanded the immediate release of the detained journalist, stated that the frequent misuse and abuse of power by the state governor in clamping into detention different journalists and other civil society leaders who disagree intellectually with the governor, clearly demonstrates the weakening of respect for the fundamental human rights of citizen in the state.
Besides, it also lambasted the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for failing to defend journalists particularly in Kaduna State who have constantly faced arbitrary arrests and detention for filing their stories based on the facts of what has happened in the field rather than run with the propaganda churned out by the state government. “We urge the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to blacklist the current state governor for constituting a cog in the wheel of democracy and freedoms of the press and right to freedom of conscience.”