Coalition Condemns Detention of 2 Journalists in Kwara State

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Mr. Salihu Ayatullahi, and Mr. Adisa-Jaji Azeez

The Coalition for Whistleblower Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), a coalition of 16 media and civil society organisations,  has condemned what it described as the arbitrary detention and harassment of two journalists, Mr. Salihu Ayatullahi, Editor-in-Chief of Informant 247, and Mr. Adisa-Jaji Azeez, Managing Editor of Informant247, by the Nigerian Police Force in Kwara State Command.

According to reports, the journalists were arrested over reports published on November 10, 2023, and February 1, 2024, regarding alleged corruption and mismanagement within the state-owned Kwara State Polytechnic.

The journalists were charged in a Magistrate court on February 7, 2024, with conspiracy, cyberstalking under section 24(1)(b) of Nigeria’s Cybercrimes Act, and defamation under section 393 of the penal code.

The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) extended its support to the newsroom of Informant247, condemning the incessant harassment of the newsroom and urging the Nigerian Police Force, Kwara State Command, to drop all charges against the accused and allow journalists to work without fear of reprisal.

The Coalition further urged the Nigerian government to refrain from any further harassment of journalists to suppress stories, stressing that it is the inherent right of the people to access information, and any attempt to obstruct this right constitutes a blatant violation of fundamental human rights in Nigeria.

The group also added that “If the government has concerns regarding the content of the publication, it would be fair to address them in a civil manner, providing evidence and engaging in constructive dialogue rather than resorting to harsh and unjust measures.”

CWPPF is a group of media and civil society organisations committed to upholding democracy and good governance by protecting the ethos of whistleblowing, freedom of expression and press freedom in Nigeria. It is an initiative rooted in the 2017 ‘No News Is Bad News Programme’ organised by Free Press Unlimited (FPU) in collaboration with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (formerly Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism).