Reporter Abducted, Detained for 10 Days without Charge

Mr. Daniel Ojukwu, FIJ’s Reporter

On May 1, 2024, Mr. Daniel Ojukwu, a reporter with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), was abducted at Herbert Macauley Street, Yaba in Lagos State by operatives of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of Police and taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, in Lagos, where he was detained incommunicado for five days before being taken to Abuja.

Twenty-four hours after he went missing, FIJ made a missing person report at police stations in the area where Ojukwu was headed.

Daniel was accused of cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and conspiracy, amongst others over an investigative report he did about an agency of government republished here.

He was thereafter, transferred to the Nigeria Police Force-National Cyber Crime Centre (NPF-NCC) in Abuja on May 5 where he was again detained.

On May 9, journalists, publishers, free press advocates, and concerned citizens stormed the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House in Abuja, in a peaceful protest, carrying banners and placards with different inscriptions touching on the freedom of the press and fundamental human rights of journalists and calling on Kayode Egbetokun, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), to immediately release Daniel.

After his whereabouts were ascertained, FIJ applied for his bail and the police gave FIJ’s lawyers and negotiators led by the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore; chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT Correspondent’s Chapel, Jide Oyekunle; and Bukky Shonibare, chairman of FIJ’s Board of Trustees, stringent bail conditions.

Initially, the Nigeria Police Force, on the orders of the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, refused to release Daniel even after meeting his bail condition on May 7, which required him to provide two directors from the public service with landed property in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja as sureties.

He was eventually released on bail on May 10, to two directors in the federal civil service who stood as sureties for his conditional bail. They were instructed to submit two passport photographs of themselves to the FCID and asked to provide the reporter to the police whenever they need him.

The day before his release, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations, DIG Ayuba Ede, had said that the reporter would be released at the discretion of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Olukayode Egbetokun. Daniel was not charged to court.

FIJ claimed that it has information that shows that Mr. Muiz Banire, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and founder of the United Action For Change – “a pressure group and think tank with the drive to build a society where people are valued and treated equally and enjoy their rights as full citizens” – wrote the petition on behalf of Mrs. Orelope Adefulire based on which the police abducted Daniel.