Panic as Armed Soldiers Abduct FirstNews Editor in Lagos

Segun James

Suspected soldiers on Friday allegedly abducted the Editor of FirstNews and former Kaduna Bureau Chief of The PUNCH, Segun Olatunji.
 Olatuni was said to have been picked up at his home in the Iyana Odo, Abule Egba area of Lagos State.
The management of the online newspaper linked the action to a recent story published by FirstNews titled, “Revealed: “Defence Chief Running Office like Family Business – Public Interest Lawyers,” published by many other online platforms.
 The abduction was also linked to another report titled: ‘Exclusive: How a contractor and company stole N100 billion, laundered funds for top govt officials – Investigation,’ ‘ which was later pulled down.

The arrest has caused panic among the staff of the newspaper.
Narrating the incident, his wife, Abiodun  Olatunji, said the armed men numbering about 10 arrived at their residence, a few minutes after 6pm and whisked her husband away without leaving any information behind as to where they were taking him to.

She said her husband’s abductors seized his phone immediately after they arrived before bundling him into a van like a common criminal and zoomed off.
While further narrating the incident, she said efforts to know his offence or where they were taking him to were rebuffed by the stern-looking men.
“Some armed men dressed in military uniform totaling 10 in number (two in uniform and the remaining eight in mufti but all armed) arrived at our residence at Dauda Oriyomi Street, Iyana Odo along Joke Ayo in Abule Egba area of Lagos State and took away my husband.

 “They refused to state his offence and where they were taking him to despite all the efforts to make them do so”, she said.
The Publisher of FirstNews, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, who also confirmed the incident, said there has been no trace of Olatunji, as his phone line has been switched off, nor has anyone contacted his family or the management of FirstNews to disclose the real reason behind his abduction.
While condemning the way and manner Olatunji was whisked away, Iworiso-Markson stated that he was never invited formally to answer any issue that bothered national security.

 “The management of FirstNews is using this opportunity to call on the military high command and the security agencies to let us know his whereabouts and the reason why he was arrested.
“FirstNews (online & print) is a reputable independent digital news network that prides itself on being a frontline media outfit committed to engaging its world-class audience with factual, authentic, and credible information.
 “We conduct our journalism activities with strict observance of the high standards of ethics, accountability, professionalism, and legality while exercising our rights to freedom of expression and information, all in a bid to ensure credible reporting of the news behind the news in Politics, Business, Education, Sport, Health, Entertainment and many more.

 “If there was any infraction that bothers national security, Olatunji should have first been formally invited rather than this Gestapo-style of arrest that reminds of the dark days of the military era, where press freedom was stifled,” the publisher explained.

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