HURIWA Condemns Okey Ndibe's Arrest, Warns GF Against media Repression
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 10, (THEWILL) - Last weekend’s arrest and detention of the United States based University don and media columnist, Okey Ndibe, by the States Security Services (SSS) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos has been condemned by the Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA), even as the Rights group has advised the President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to direct the operatives of the nation’s security agencies to respect the tenets of democracy, fundamental rights of citizens and to return forthwith the international passports confiscated from Dr Ndibe and apologize to him for the unwarranted attack on his fundamental freedoms.
The group has also raised alarm of government’s plot to commence a systematic clampdown on the media and warned the federal government against acts that may signpost emerging dictatorship in the country because of the damaging implication that full blown tyranny, intolerance of dissenting voices and media repression would have on the nation’s democracy.
HURIWA, in a statement jointly endorsed by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Affairs, Ms. Zainab Yusuf said the arbitrary arrest and detention of Okey Ndibe by the States Security Services (SSS) and recent media statements credited to the Presidential Adviser on media Mr. Imma Niboro lambasting Al-Jazeera television over its recent coverage of the spate of bomb explosions in Nigeria signals government’s growing intolerance for media freedom.
The Rights group which raised alarm of what it identified as emerging scenario of federal government’s tendency to muzzle and intimidate free press in Nigeria said the weekend ambush and detention Okey Ndibe is a breach of Section 22 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which obliges the nation’s media to become the conscience of the nation and act as watchdog to ensure the institutionalization of viable democracy in the country.
The group also criticizes the confiscation of Professor Ndibe’s traveling documents as a flagrant violation of his constitutionally protected fundamental freedom of movement.
“We in the Human Rights Community are worried that President Goodluck Jonathan is about to rubbish his widely acknowledged disposition to respect media freedom since assuming the highest political office in the land. We are concerned that over zealous operatives of the nation’s security community if not checked will make nonsense of one of the few records achieved by the current federal administration of Dr. Jonathan which is the impressive respect for media freedoms,” the body said.