The arrested Editor and webmaster of NewsDigest, an Abuja-based online newspaper, Mr. Gidado Yushau and Mr. Adebowale Adekoya, have been released by the Kwara State Police Command, after they were thoroughly quizzed over an investigative report in May, 2018.
The Chairman Board of Directors of Image Merchants Promotions Limited (IMPR); the parent company of the NewsDigest, Publishers of PRNigeria, Dr. Sule Yau Sule, made the disclosure on Thursday.
Gidado and Adekoya were arrested by detectives of the Lagos State and Kwara Police Command, last Friday and Tuesday, respectively.
While Adebowale was picked up at his house in Lagos, Gidado was arrested in Abuja, at his Wuye District residence, after which they were conveyed to Ilorin.
Sule stated that after preliminary interrogation of the two NewsDigest’s workers, they were released on bail, but asked to return on Monday for further questioning.
The Chairman who condemned the arrest and detention of the two young men, said whatever reservation the agency may have on any news published, proper and civilised channels are there for a complaint to be made.
He said: “Living in a society where freedom of expression and association, is said to be guarded only for the security agencies to trample on such privilege is condemnable and unacceptable.
“There are many agencies whose responsibilities are to check the excesses of the media, then why the haste in hauling innocent journalists behind the bar?”
The report, published on May 19, 2019, was written by an award-winning campus journalist and investigative reporter, Mr. Alfred Olufemi, who is a student of one of the foremost universities in Nigeria.
The story; “Inside Kwara factory where Indian hemp smoking is legalised”, centred on Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industry, one of the group of companies owned by a former acting governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Sarah Alade.
Similarly, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said they are worried by the recent but alarming arrest and detention of Nigerian journalists, as expressed in a report by Amnesty International.
CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, in a release, maintained and reiterated the organisation’s position for social justice and press freedom.
Rafsanjani recalled that Gidado who is also the anchor of Youth Digest, has been in the fore front of training young investigative journalists on accountability in the public sector, as demonstrated in “Campus Investigative Journalists Workshop”, where campus students were trained on effective reportage, recently organized by CISLAC in collaboration with Youth Digest.
He said: “This is in addition to the Campus Journalism Awards, where best performing Campus Journalists were rewarded and encouraged in January 2019.
“We are not unaware of the media role in influencing public opinion, shaping political agenda, providing a link between the government and the people, while acting as the government watchdog in advancing good governance.
“We also recall the crucial importance of the media in the promotion of democracy and rule of law; just as media is indispensable for people to be informed and to effectively participate in a democracy.
“It is on this premise that CISLAC will continue to support young investigative journalists to pursue various legal means to expose corruption and illegalities in our society, as this forms the basis of good governance, transparency and accountability CISLAC advocates and upholds.”