DSS Operatives Rearrest, Release Jones Abiri

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Jones Abiri, Publisher of Weekly Source Newspaper
Jones Abiri, Publisher of Weekly Source Newspaper

Jones Abiri, publisher of Weekly Source newspaper, was on March 30, 2019 again arrested at Ayabowei Plaza, which houses his office, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State by four armed men suspected to be operatives of Directorate of Security Services (DSS).
Apparently taken straight to Abuja following his arrest, he was released in the afternoon on April 1, 2019 from the secret police’s detention facility in Abuja, according to his lawyer, Samuel Ogala.
Eye-witness reports say Jones was in the company of some colleagues in his office at Azikoro junction in Yenagoa when the armed men arrived in a white Hilux Van and a black Prado Jeep. They told him that he was under arrest and with guns pointed at him, dragged him, and pushed by force into one of the vehicles and drove off.
A journalist, Austin Bodo, who witnessed the incident, giving eyewitness account said: “we were sitting outside his office when a black Prado jeep and white Hilux drove into the premises in commando style.”
“As they packed, two men carrying the type of guns used by DSS operatives jumped out of one of the cars and said Abiri was under arrest and immediately started dragging him and forced him into one of the cars and drove off.”
A second witness, Bankole Abdulazeez, said “we were discussing national issues when the cars drove in.
“Two armed men came out of the cars and without identifying themselves, they said you are under arrest and started dragging him.
“They threatened to shoot anybody that tries to stop them.
“I heard him shouting ‘what have I done again? What have I done again?’ Before they finally dragged him into one of the cars and drove off.”
Jones was initially sarrested in July 2016 in Yenagoa and was kept in detention incommunicado. He was accused of blackmailing expatriation oil workers in the Niger-Delta, allegations he denied, but was kept in custody until August 2018 when he was freed following widespread advocacy for his release and on a court order to that effect.
Jones was arrested by about a dozen armed security operatives on July 21, 2016 outside his office in Yenagoa and remanded in detention without trial for two years before local and international activists and organisations mounted pressure on government to free him.
In two separate cases in 2018, one court threw out the case against Jones, saying it did not have jurisdiction, and another ordered the DSS to pay damages for the journalist’s illegal detention and violating his human rights.