Nigeria investigative journalist released after spending more than a week in police custody News
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Nigeria investigative journalist released after spending more than a week in police custody

Nigerian investigative journalist Daniel Ojukwu on Friday was released after 10 days in police custody. Ojukwu was released after intense criticism and protests from media rights groups demanding his release.

The Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) released a statement on Ojukwu’s release thanking both local and international media organizations, civil society organizations, activists, lawyers, and active citizens whose efforts helped secure the freedom of the reporter. It has also promised to “explore all legally permissible means to seek justice for Daniel Ojukwu and prevent a recurrence of such blatant abuse of power and attack on press freedom.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says that Ojukwu went missing on May 1 and was later traced to the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) in Panti Street, Lagos where he was being held on allegations of violating the Cybercrimes Act. He was later transferred to the Nigerian Police Force National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) in Abuja on May 5.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Ojukwu had been detained following his investigative report alleging that Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, a former senior special assistant to the president on sustainable development goals, transferred 147 million naira (about US$106,000) of government funds marked for school construction into a restaurant’s bank account. Nigeria’s constitution requires that any crime suspect be charged before a court within 48 hours of arrest. However, Ojukwu has been in detention without charge for more than nine days.

In an interview with Arise News, Bukky Shonibar, the Board Chairman of the FIJ said that every story that FIJ releases is regulated by journalistic ethics and due diligence. Shonibar also noted that before the report implicating Adejoke was published, she was invited to respond to the allegations to which she never replied.

CPJ and HRW are some of the groups that called for Ojukwu’s release. He was released on bail after a week of unyielding pressure on the police from the activists on media outlets.