Al-Mizan demands release of reporter

The state security service arrested Musa Muhammad Awwal (pictured above) for the second time in less than a month

The Management of Al-Mizan Newspaper Kaduna, whose reporter, Musa Awwal, was again arrested in the early hours of Thursday in his residence, has called on the State Security Service, SSS to release him immediately.

A statement by the paper’s Editor- In- Chief, Ibrahim Musa, made available to PREMIUM TIMES reads, “We hereby call for the immediate and unconditional release of Musa Muhammad Awwal whose arrest has violated due process and his individual human rights”.

The statement said since the release of Mr. Awwal and his colleague, Aliyu Saleh on New Year day, no contact was made by the SSS with either the company, their lawyers or the two reporters themselves, only for the security agents to again raid Mr. Awwal’s house on Thursday.

According to the statement, Mr. Awwal’s family informed the Al-Mizan management that members of “the Joint Task Force JTF and men of the SSS arrived his residence around 3:30 a.m. in several Toyota Hilux vans and Jeeps carrying sophisticated weapons and in larger numbers than the earlier attack”.

The statement also said the security operatives “demanded that he goes along with them as they had been instructed to bring him from Abuja. The security operatives seized his cell phone and laptop and got him arrested without any warrant or prior information as to the arrest. They also searched the residence briefly before they left”.

Al-Mizan said security operatives in troubled areas are heightening tension and violating the civil rights of their victims.

It said it is unfortunate that in a country that attests to the theories of democracy, law and order could be so loose that individuals could be treated in an extra-judicial manner and their rights violated.

“The security operatives are given undue freedom to harass and molest innocent individuals thereby violating due process. It cannot be justified that seeking information by security operatives allows them to go ahead of the laws of a democratically oriented societies,” they said.

The paper vowed to ensure that the reporter is released, and also called on all relevant bodies to intervene.

“We hereby call on the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Guild of Editors, Press Union of the Islamic World, Nigerian Bar Association, Human and Civil Rights groups as well as all concerned and well meaning personalities that believe in the tenets of fairness and justice to humanity to out rightly denounce this atrocity perpetrated by security personnel in the name of providing security,” it said.

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