Politics, Africa

Protest in Nigerian capital over journalist's detention

Journalist alleged to be held over report critical of recently sacked head of secret police in West African nation

Protest in Nigerian capital over journalist's detention

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria

Hundreds of protesters on Thursday besieged the Nigeria police headquarters in the capital Abuja demanding the release of a local journalist who is being held by an anti-robbery police squad. 

Samuel Ogundipe, a reporter with the online news medium Premium Times, was detained on Tuesday over his story about a police report purportedly indicting Lawal Daura, the recently sacked head of the secret police, the outlet said.

The arrest has drawn criticisms from human rights groups.

The protest was led by prominent activist Charles Oputa and presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore amid an appeal by the West African country's journalists’ union that the government should call on the police to halt alleged attacks on journalists.

The police chief’s “excesses” are giving the government “a bad image,” Waheed Odusile, president of the Nigerian Unions of Journalist, said in a petition to acting President Yemi Osinbajo, calling for the reporter’s release.

The protesters waved banners criticizing the “crackdown on free speech and journalism.”

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