Journalists Covering Primaries by Splinter Party Group Arrested, Detained

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Mr. Chris Isiguzo
NUJ President

On May 23, 2022, four media workers, Sunny Ohioze of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and his cameraman; Deborah Coker of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), and Ogbomo Osamuyi of Independent Television (ITV) were arrested by a security team at the Event Centre in Benin City, Edo State, while covering parallel senatorial primaries election by members of a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State.

They were arrested by the police on the order of the head of the Edo Security Network and taken to the Command, Intelligence Rapid Response Squad at Oko Centre in Benin where they were interrogation and detained for over five hours before they were released.

Deborah recounted, after their release: “Even after we told them that we are journalists doing our constitutional duty they insisted that we are providing coverage for an illegal primary that is why they took us to Oko Police station.”

She said they were arrested and detained for about five hours and interrogated on trumped-up accusations that they went to cover a parallel primary. She said they were interrogated on why they went to cover a parallel primary and who invited them to cover it.

The Edo Police Command’s spokesman, Bello Kontongs, confirmed the arrest of the four journalists, adding that they have been released. He did not give reason of their arrest.