Nigerian Police Raid Popular Online News Media, Premium Times, Arrest Publisher, Journalist

Nigerian police Thursday raided headquarters of a famous Nigerian Online media, PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja, arresting the publisher, Dapo Olarunyomi and a reporter, Evelyn Okakwu.

PREMIUM TIMES, published on its website that, “Plain-clothed officers conducted search at the office shortly after 5p.m. Thursday, and said they were acting on a complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

“The arrests came days after PREMIUM TIMES turned down the army’s demand to retract news stories about the Nigerian Army and its operations.”

The paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, had condemned the raid, saying, “They should stop deluding themselves that they can muzzle the press and intimidate PREMIUM TIMES,” said Mr. Mojeed. “They should know that our loyalty lies with our readers and the Nigerian people who have a right to know.”

He said the paper will continue “to discharge its responsibilities in line with global best practices, social responsibility and patriotism, even at great risk to our personal liberties”.

Nigerian Journalists are currently facing another round of arrests and prosecution for their jobs, just like it was in the military era. More than five of them had been arrested and interrogated by Nigerian authorities in 2016.

A Nigerian media specialist, Steve Aborisade, who had personally worked with Mr. Olarunyomi had commented on his Facebook Wall, “Sad that Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, Premium Times publisher, and a leading light of the democratic struggle, who experienced incessant police harassment sequel to the enthronement of democratic governance in Nigeria, and at a point fled into exile when his life became marked is being made to go through this type of treatment again, in a democracy he fought for. It is sad, that this is happening to the media at this time, and to such a leading light of the best that the media in Nigerian has to offer.

“It is ironic that this is a government populated by his friends, some of whom were in the trenches with him in the dark period of Military rule. How long more should we behave as if these disturbing occurrences as we are witnessing them are normal? Why does it look as if the media is being repressed in a government of change?”

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