A Warri based human rights lawyer, Oghenejabor Ikimi, has petitioned to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, over the recent threat to live, unlawful arrest and detention of five journalists in Warri, by men of the Inspector-General of Police monitoring unit.
In the petition addressed to the Executive Secretary of the commission, Ikimi, a lawyer, said on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, a team of policemen of the IGP monitoring unit, led by one detective Reuben Noah, stormed the Press Centre of the Warri Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and arrested the Correspondent of Daily Post Online, Mr Matthew Omonigho in lieu of one Mr Cletus Opukeme, a journalist and detained him at the Police Area Command office, Warri.
According to him, a delegation of four journalists of Edeki Igafe (NAN Correspondent), Francis Sadhere (Business Day Correspondent), Onyekachukwu Meluwa (Punch Newspaper Correspondent) and Christopher Odamah (Delta Trumpet Correspondent), who were sent to ascertain the reason for Omonigho’s arrest were also detained at the command.
Ikimi, who is the Executive Director of Centre for the Vulnerable & the Underprivileged, CENTREP, stated that the petition became even more necessary as they were released with further threats by the Police team which allegedly said, they would again storm the Warri Press Centre should they fail to produce their colleague, Mr. Cletus Opukeme.
He said the lives of the five journalists and that of their other colleagues at the NUJ Warri Correspondents Chapel seems to be in jeopardy.
Ikimi therefore, urged the National Human Rights Commission to immediately carryout an independent and an unbiased investigation into the above complaint of the journalists who are his clients; with a view to punishing the erring policemen and to extract a public apology from the Police High Command.
In another petition to the Inspector General of Police, Ikimi on behalf of the journalists demanded a public apology from the Police high command and also to immediately carryout an independent and an unbiased investigation into the matter with a view to bringing to book the erring policemen.
He expressed confidence abilities of the Police IG and the National Human Rights Commission to ensure that justice was done.