Garba Shehu Says Buhari’s Govt Has Never Arrested a Journalist, Evidences Prove Otherwise
In what appears an attempt at whitewashing the human rights abuse records of the Muhammadu Buhari regime, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says the arrest of journalist and human rights activist Omoyele Sowore, has nothing to do with him being a journalist.
Shehu was reacting to international news media reports depicting Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters as a journalist detained by the government.
Sowore was released on Tuesday following a directive from Abubakar Malami, attorney-general and minister of justice, after the initial refusal of the government to honour two court orders granting him bail.
Shehu said in a statement that the Department of State Services (DSS) arrested Sowore because he called for a revolution to ”overthrow” President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
He said the Buhari-led government has not clamped down on any news medium or arrested a journalist since assuming office in 2015, but that no government would tolerate Sowore’s call for “destabilisation in the country”.
Multiple evidences however prove Garba Shehu incorrect.
On July 21, 2016, plainclothed officers stormed into the office of Jones Abiri, editor in chief of regional newspaper Weekly Source. Abiri was arrested and thereafter detained for two years under gruesome circumstances without access to a lawyer or his family.
On January 20, 2017, the Nigerian police raided Premium Times head office in Abuja, and arrested its publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, and the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu. Police operatives in mufti conducted a search on the office and said they were acting on a complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai.
Samuel Ogundipe, a reporter with Premium Times was arrested on August 14, 2018 and detained for refusing to reveal the source for an article about the inspector general of police.
On June 6, 2019, the Nigerian government shut down Africa Independent Television (AIT) owned by a key opposition figure High Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
Chido Onumah, a Nigerian journalist and activist was arrested by the Department of State Service (DSS) who accused him of wearing a shirt with the inscription: ‘We Are All Biafrans.’
In January, armed soldiers invaded Daily Trust regional office in Maiduguri, Borno state and arrested the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab.
There are multiple examples that discredit the Nigerian presidential spokesperson’s claim that no journalist or media house has suffered persecution under the current Buhari regime.
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