Veteran anti-corruption and pro-democracy campaigner, Chido Onumah, has been arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Onumah, one of the leading advocates for the protection of whistleblowers, also doubles as the executive director, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) and the author of We Are All Biafrans.
According to reports, he was picked up at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport immediately he returned from Barcelona, Spain, where he had just successfully defended his PhD thesis.
Although he was picked up as soon as he got to the immigration desk at the airport, he was able to make one phone call to a friend on his arrest before his number became unreachable.
As at press time, no reason has been given whatsoever for his arrest by the DSS, although a cursory look at his active Twitter page showed that he was quite vocal about the government’s recent arbitrary arrests.
Reacting to the arrest, the National Union of Campus Journalists (NUCJ) on their Twitter handle said: “@nucjnigeria condemns the arbitrary arrest of one of our patron. This act is highly undemocratic and poses threat to good governance in Nigeria. @conumah is a well respected activist and journalist.
“We hereby demand for his immediate and unconditional release. @conumah for some years now has been working tirelessly to contribute to nation building. Free him now.
“@conumah recently agreed to be the Keynote Speaker at the forthcoming 1st year anniversary of @UCJFUOYE. It is sad to hear of his sudden arrest which is a big slap to Nigeria’s democracy and unacceptable. He should be freed immediately!”
Dr. El Mo Atiku said: “Another activist, Dr. Chido Onumah @conumah, returning from Spain where he bagged a PhD in comm studies has been arrested by the DSS.
“The Buhari’s government is not relenting in its continued crackdown of activist & any opposing voice in the country. Where’s @democracynow #DSSFreeOnumah.”
Inibehe Effiong said: “Chido Onumah’s arrest by the SSS is the latest reminder that Nigeria is now in a full blown dictatorship. I hope we’re reading the signs very clearly. Buhari has turned Nigeria to a police state. Citizens are now hunted while terrorists & bandits receive government patronage. Terrible!”