Release ‘Power Steering’ publisher now or charge him to court, concerned Nigerians cry out

A group, under the auspices of Concerned Nigerians, has urged the Nigeria Police to unconditionally release the publisher ‘Power Steering’ magazine, Mr Oga Tom Uhia, who has been in police detention.

The Concerned Nigerians also urged the police to alternatively charge the publisher to court if they cannot let him off the hook.

Mr Uhia was arrested by the police on October 14, 2020 allegedly acting on the petition by the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jeddy Agba over a publication by the magazine which he claimed maligned him.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja, Tuesday, some Concerned Nigerians led by Comrade Yemi Itodo, said it was unfortunate that a journalist could be detained for over three weeks by the police when the world was still celebrating the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists’.

“It was a day (November 2)set aside globally to raise a banner in ending all forms of impunity against journalists and to safeguard the constitutional guarantee of the media to hold the government and its officials accountable.

“Unfortunately, as in the case of Nigeria, there should not be any special day to call on the government and its agents to end impunity against journalists, as harassment, intimidation, arrests, detention and gagging of journalists continue unabated, on daily basis, and shamefully too, to the consternation of the international community,” Itodo lamented.

He noted that the only crime “this septuagenarian journalist committed was that, as an investigative reporter, he dared to uncover a lot of frauds and alleged shady deals of a much younger Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jeddy Agba, while he was top management member of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) in the last dispensation”.

He expressed surprise that the leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), at both national level and FCT councils had pleaded with the minister repeatedly for the veteran journalist to be released or charged to court alleging that the minister had stuck to his guns.

To worsen matters, Comrade Itoko disclosed that the detained journalist was being held at the Force CID, Area 10 Garki Abuja, where the immediate younger brother to the minister’s mother, Anthony Ogbiji is the Officer in charge as the Deputy Inspector-General of Police.

According to Itodo, the DIG Ogbiji had allegedly requested for a deposit of N2 million and a level 16 officer in the Federal Civil Service as conditions for his bail the conditions which were met within 2 days regretting that the DIG had refused to release Pa Uhia.

Uhia, as a man with underlying health issues due to age and fatigue, according to him, Pa. Uhia has been severally denied medical attentions while his health continues to deteriorate and he is being perpetually traumatised as he is kept alongside hardened criminals awaiting trials.

“At a time that Nigerians, all over the world are clamouring for a reform of the Nigeria Police Force, it is very appalling that the leadership of the Force is not ready to embrace civility or any form of reform” Itodo regretted.

Reacting to the development, the media Consultant to the embattled Minister, Mr. Jeddy Agba, Mr. Ofem Uket condemned the said publication against his Minister, describing it as malicious, provocative and bereft of journalistic ethics which must not be tolerated.

On why Mr. Uhia has not been charged to court three weeks after, Uket said he was not in a position to explain the reason adding that only the Police can give reason.

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