Hooded Security Operatives Abduct Broadcast Journalist

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Mr. Chinonso Uba

On July 27, 2023, some hooded armed operatives of the Nigeria Police, abducted Mr. Chinonso Uba, popularly known as NonsoNkwa, a broadcast journalist with Ozisa FM, in Owerri, Imo State, in a commando-style operation, and took him to an unknown destination

The policemen laid siege to Assumpta Cathedral of the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese which houses the radio station, waiting for Chinonso to end the programme, ‘Igbo Ekpebie’, that he anchored on Ozisa FM and come out. After he came out, he got into his car and drove out of the premises of the church premises. But the policemen, operating in a Hilux vehicle, a Lexus 350 Jeep, and an ES 330 car followed him and double-crossed his car in front of Holy Ghost College Secondary School junction, forcing him to stop. They dragged the journalist out of his car, and in spite of him shouting that they wanted to kill him, forced him into one of their vehicles and drove off, abandoning the Chinonso’s car at the scene of his abduction.

The Imo State Police Spokesman, Mr. Henry Okoye, later disclosed that Chinonso was arrested by operatives of the Force CID, Abuja and not the Imo State Police Command.

He was detained till August 16, when the police arraigned him at an Abuja Federal High Court which ordered the Police Force to release him.

Chinonso was arraigned for an alleged defamatory statement by him to the effect that Governor Hope Uzodimma and Alhaji Asari Dokubo were responsible for the killings in Imo State.

The police in charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/367/2023 between Inspector General of Police Vs Chinonso Uba told the court that Uba’s offence contravenes the Cyber Crime Prohibition Act.

On August 18, the presiding judge, Justice E. N. Okpe, held that Chinonso’s “arrest, detention, and torture were illegal, unconstitutional, reckless, and a violent infringement of his fundamental human rights.” The court consequently ordered the police to release him within 24 hours. He was however not released.

Chinonso was released on August 29, 2023, 10 days after the Federal High Court ordered his release within 24 hours.