On January 1, 2018 at about 4.30am, Daniel Elombah, a journalist, blogger and publisher of http://elombah.com and five others were arrested by armed operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigerian Police numbering about 15.
Daniel, along with three of his brothers and two relatives were arrested from their family home in Edoji-Uruagu Nnewi, Anambra State and first taken to SARS office at Nnewi before being transferred to Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The SARS personnel who stormed the Elombah family compound in a Gestapo-style fired sporadically into the air, ostensibly to scare neighbours. They thereafter arrested the six men, physically manhandled and handcuffed them before driving them away in their van to the Special Tactical Squad, (STS) a crack team of operatives directly in the office of Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police.
Recounting his ordeal, Daniel said the SARS officials scaled the gate to enter his compound and ransacked his house before arresting the six of them adding he was never informed why he was arrested. He said they were physically and psychologically tortured and traumatized.
Daniel said his brother Tim Elombah, was accused of publishing an online article on elombah.com which they alleged was aimed at blackmailing the IGP.
Three of them were released while three others namely: Daniel, Tim and Izuchukwu Elombah were herded in handcuffs into another Bus after they were briefly interrogated and then driven to Abuja.
In Abuja, the three brothers were separately interrogated for several hours. Tim was accused of publishing an article titled “IGP Ibrahim Idris’s Unending Baggage of Controversies”, an opinion piece on opinionnigeria.com, another online medium written by Ebiowei Dickson. Tim denied the accusation and drew their attention to the fact that it was not published in elombah.com.
Civil society, human right groups and as other concerned Nigerians condemned the arrest and called for his release. They mounted intense social media campaign launching the twitter hash tags, #FREEElombah #FreePRESS to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of the journalist and his brothers.
He was released at midnight along with Izuchukwu while Tim, who consistently denied writing the article in question, was remanded in detention.