Online Publishers Call For Release Of Journalist Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe

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Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), has called on the Nigerian Police in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja to release the publisher of 247ureports.com, Mr Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe who has been in their custody since last week.

Ezenekwe was arrested by the Inspector General of Police IGP monitoring team, on the morning of July 5, 2021 over an article published on the website of the media company.

According to a statement signed by OPAN president, Austyn Ogannah, Ezenekwe was never formally invited but was immediately arrested and taken to the national police headquarters in Asokoro where he was interrogated in the absence of his lawyer.

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The flagship organization for digital news publishers said, “Since his arrest by men from the IGP monitoring team, he has remained in incarceration and has not been charged to court. This is unlawful and an infringement of his fundamental rights.”

It said that a former chief of staff to the former governor of Anambra, Willie Obiano, Chief Primus Odili, who recently lost in his senatorial bid on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), had petitioned the IGP monitoring team to arrest and detain Mr. Ezenekwe claiming the article on him was libelous.

Part of the statement reads, “OPAN gathered authoritatively that Chief Odili has tasked the IGP monitoring team to unmask the source of the article, which Ezeneke has declined to identify citing confidentiality and privilege between journalists and news sources.

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“We find it disturbing and unacceptable that the police could allow a citizen to use it to intimidate a journalist.

“The police have continued to intimidate and coerce Ezenekwe demanding to know the source of his story. This is wrong. Is the police above the laws of the land?

“OPAN hereby calls on the police to immediately release Mr. Ezenekwe and apologise to him for his unlawful incarceration.”

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