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Those behind my ordeal and what I went through in DIA custody —Released FirstNews Editor Speaks

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Those behind my ordeal and what I went through in DIA custody —Released FirstNews Editor Speaks

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Abducted FirstNews Editor, Segun Olatunji, freed from DIA custody
Nigeria’s public debt surges to N97.34trn in Q4 2023, reports NBS

Segun Olatunji, Editor of FirstNews Newspaper, has broken his silence after a harrowing twelve-day ordeal in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), revealing that his abduction and detention were directly related to his journalistic work, which irritated certain powerful people.

Olatunji described the terrifying moment when armed troops stormed his home while he was watching television with his son. “I observed soldiers outside,” he explained.

“An officer, who identified himself as Colonel Lawal, approached me. I questioned why they were looking for me. He didn’t give a specific answer, merely saying they were from the military.”

Olatunji recalled being blindfolded, flown to Abuja, and held without trial, enduring physical discomfort owing to tight handcuffs while confined.

“It was evident that certain individuals in positions of power were unhappy with the work being done by FirstNews,” he said.

During his imprisonment, interrogators focused on specific pieces published by FirstNews, notably those critical of high-ranking government leaders.

“They also enquired about an article we had written about the President’s Chief of Staff. This was the main difficulty,” Olatunji stated.

His wife, who observed the abduction, emphasized her anxiety and perplexity throughout the ordeal, while coworkers, relatives, and media outlets fought feverishly to secure his release.

The International Press Institute (IPI), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) the general news (Tgnews) all played critical roles in lobbying the government and security agencies for answers, ultimately leading to Olatunji’s release.

Musikilu Mojeed, President of IPI Nigeria, revealed that Olatunji’s abduction was linked to a recent FirstNews piece about the dangers journalists face in Nigeria’s emerging democracy.

Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the NGE Secretary, emphasized the significance of press freedom, saying, “If the press is not allowed to carry out its social and constitutional responsibilities but is instead subservient to power, it simply serves as an extension of power.”

Olatunji expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped him, particularly Yomi Odunuga, for his assistance in the release process.

Olatunji’s story serves as a sobering reminder of the obstacles that Nigerian media faces, as well as the vital necessity to protect press freedom as the country moves toward democracy.