Coalition Demands Immediate Release of Detained ICIR Founder, Reporter


A coalition of press and civil society organizations including WikkiTimes have demanded the immediate release of Mr. Dayo Aiyetan Executive Director and Founder of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

Mr Aiyetan and his reporter Mr. Nurudeen Yahaya Akewushola, have been detained by the National Cybercrime Centre (NCC) of the Nigerian Police Force.

Aiyetan and Akewushola were detained following a summons dated May 15, 2024, which cited allegations of “cyberstalking and defamation” related to their investigative reports on alleged abuse of power.

However, the summons did not specify the report or the complainant behind these allegations. The detention has sparked widespread condemnation from various organizations about press freedom and the rule of law in Nigeria.

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Victoria Bamas, the Managing Editor of ICIR, reported that the lawyer accompanying the journalists to the NCC has also become unreachable, raising further alarm. The coalition’s statement describes this detention as an unlawful act, exacerbating the ongoing attacks on press freedom and violating Nigeria’s constitutional rights under Sections 22 and 39(1).

The coalition argues that the use of the repealed sections of the Cybercrimes Act (2015) to justify the detention is another misuse of state resources aimed at silencing dissent.

The coalition said that the journalists’ deprivation of liberty without formal charges contravenes Sections 34, 35, and 41 of the Constitution, which protect personal dignity, liberty, and freedom of movement.

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Condemning these actions as unconstitutional and illegal, the organizations call on the Nigerian Police to release Aiyetan and Akewushola immediately.

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The coalition urges the Nigerian authorities to honour their human rights commitments and ensure the protection of journalists.

They call for an end to arbitrary arrests and the unlawful detention of journalists and other civic actors.

Attacks on journalists have become the norm in Nigeria, with this incident being part of a troubling trend of harassment and intimidation directed at journalists who publish critical reports.

They call for an end to arbitrary arrests and the unlawful detention of journalists and other civic actors.

Attacks on journalists have become the norm in Nigeria, with this incident being part of a troubling trend of harassment and intimidation directed at journalists who publish critical reports.

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