HURIWA condemns harassment, detention of journalists by minister, DSS

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the harassment and arbitrary arrest Journalist Rotimi Jolayemi also known as Oba Akewi on the orders of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, over a poem read during a radio programme the minister considers critical of him.

The group also deplored the continued detention of another Uyo-based media practitioner, Kufre Carter, by the Department of State Services (DSS) amid a court order granting him bail.

It consequently called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to take immediate action to “stem the rising tide of horrendous violations of the freedoms of expression and information, and to stop the rapidly shrinking democratic spaces for the media to practise their profession in line with Section 22 of the Nigerian constitution which mandates the media to monitor the operations of all governmental and non-governmental systems in the country, and to serve as the national vanguard and conscience.”

In a statement yesterday in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said this “brutal and atrocious act can only happen where there is widespread official impunity and anarchy.”

It claimed: “Reports indicate that Jolayemi turned himself to the police when the minister ordered the arrest of his wife, Dorcas, and two of the media practitioner’s brothers, John and Joseph, who were all locked up for eight, nine and two days respectively and were tortured physically, emotionally and psychologically.”

The rights group stressed that “these crimes against humanity must never go unpunished.”

HURIWA recollected that Carter was arrested on April 27, 2020 for allegedly criticising the Akwa State Commissioner for Health, Dominic Ukpong, during a live programme in Uyo.

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