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Sowore, CSOs Protest At Police HQ, Demand Immediate Release Of FIJ Journalist

A Coalition of Civil Society Group under the auspice of Action Group for the Protection of Civic Actors and a human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore on Thursday in Abuja staged a protest at the Force Headquarters to demand for the release of Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), who has been in custody since Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

He was transferred from Lagos to Abuja on Sunday May 5 and is being investigated by the National Cybercrime Centre (NPF- NCCC) for alleged Cybercrime violation following a petition written by one Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals ( SDG ) to the former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The group expressed concerns regarding press freedom and shrinking civic space in nigeria just as they vowed to continue to occupy the building until the journalist is released.


Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Bukky Shonibare said free press and public participation are fundamental pillars of our democracy.

She said the recent abduction and continued detention of Daniel Ojukwu, exemplified this disregard for the rule of law and democratic principles.

According to her “ Civil society organizations across the country are deeply concerned about the growing cases of attacks on press freedom, and the flagrant abuse of due process and the rule of law by the Nigeria Police under the Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, Ph.D., NPM.

Action Group on the Protection of Civic Actors, a Nigerian coalition of media and civil society groups working alongside international allies, sounds the alarm on the recent surge in attacks on press freedom and the silencing of dissent and civic voices.

A free press and public participation are fundamental pillars of our democracy. Thus, the continuous silencing of journalists and civic actors who hold power accountable undermines the provisions of Sections 22 and 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which guarantees freedom of the press and freedom of expression, respectively.
Furthermore, the coordinated use of state resources, the mischievous interpretation and hyper-application of laws, especially the Cybercrimes Act of 2015 which has now been amended, and the abuse of power and public institutions are all draconian tactics deployed to further shrink Nigeria’s fragile civic space. These tactics have no place in a democracy, where accountability and transparency in governance are essential.

Particularly, the recent abduction and continued detention of Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), exemplifies this disregard for the rule of law and democratic principles. Mr. Ojukwu’s fundamental human rights have been blatantly violated.

Even though the Nigeria Police has filed no formal charges, he remains in custody. dditionally, Daniel’s unlawful arrest and detention contravenes the combined reading and cumulative effect of Sections 34, 35, and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which protects his rights to respect for the dignity of his person, personal liberty, and freedom of movement.

“Daniel Ojukwu’s case is the most recent in a recurring trend of similar attacks and harassment aimed at the media and other civic actors by Nigerian law enforcement and security agents. The familiar pattern these attacks seem to take is that the instrumentality of the Nigerian security apparatus is set loose on these individuals as soon as they express views unfavorable to the administration or in the case of journalists, as soon as they publish credible stories that cast the administration in an unflattering light. The expression of opinions, however critical they are of the government, is one of the critical bedrocks of democracy.

“Consequently, we unequivocally condemn Daniel’s abduction and unlawful detention as unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and unbecoming in a country that claims to practice democracy. We maintain that for Nigeria to claim its status as the continent’s largest democracy, its institutions and law enforcement agencies must uphold established standards and procedures consistent with democratic norms.

Until then, Nigeria cannot reconcile the title of the “largest democracy in Africa” with the practices and principles reminiscent of a police state.”

On his own Sowore said the Nigerian police under the leader of Kayode Egbetokun have continued to demonstrate its impunity and blatant disregard for the rule of law and democratic principles.

He therefore called in the Inspector General of Police to order immediate release of the just or face a nationwide mass action.

He reminded the police of the amendment of Cybercrime Act 2025 by the National Assembly which he said the police has no right to charge any Nigerian including journalists with cyberstalking.

The civic society group includes , Enough is Enough Nigeria, Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO), Invictus Africa, Accountability Lab Nigeria, Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), Global Rights, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), Dataphyte, Gatefield, BudgIT Foundation.

Others are WikkiTimes, Hope Behind Bars Africa, Partners West Africa, Media Rights Agenda, International Press Centre, TheCable, Premium Times, Digicivic Initiative, Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), BONews Service.

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