Following the intervention of the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, an editor with Lagos-based The Sun Newspapers, Ebere Wabara, who was abducted from his Lagos home on Thursday by police officers from the Abia State Police Command, was, late Saturday, released on bail.
He was released from police custody at about 10:15 p.m. on Saturday after Mr. Abubakar instructed the Commissioner of Police in Abia to do so.
The correspondent of The Sun in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, Chuks Onuoha, took Mr. Wabara’s bail.
Mr. Wabara was asked to report to the office of the Commissioner of Police in Abia on Monday at 10 a.m.
The police officers from the State Criminal Investigation Department, in Umuahia, had invaded Mr. Wabara’s home in Lagos between 6.30 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. on Thursday.
He was, first, taken to Sholoki Police Station in Aguda, Surulere, then later to Oyingbo Police Station; both in Lagos.
The officers, who reportedly identified themselves to Mr. Wabara, told him that some unnamed person had written a petition against him in Abia State.
Narrating how the abduction happened, Adanna Wabara said that her husband had gone downstairs to take something from his car.
“Shortly after, I heard him shouting, and I ran downstairs. I saw between seven and eight men, who said they were policemen,” Mrs. Wabara said.
“They said he needed to follow them to Umuahia, that there was a petition against him for sedition.
“They took us back into the house, one of them brought out an I.D Card, showing that he was a policeman. They requested to search our bedroom. They did, and collected my husband’s laptop and telephone.” Mrs. Wabara said.
In a statement on Saturday, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, had described the arrest and detention of Mr. Wabara as an indication that Nigeria is yet to move away from anti-democratic practices.
“We are further worried that this arrest and detention runs contrary to common sense and the law,” said the statement signed by Shuaibu Usman, NUJ’s National Secretary.
“It is also our contention that no responsible government especially the one like ours that continues to pride itself on its democratic credentials should be seen to be arresting and detaining its citizens indiscriminately. If this act of impunity is allowed to continue, none of us will feel free and secure.
“We vehemently protest over and repudiate the actions of government and authorities who make a mockery of the freedom of expression and commitments to pluralism and democracy when they encourage a culture of impunity and lawlessness against the media,” the statement added.
Similarly, the NGE, in a statement on Saturday, described Mr. Wabara’s abduction as “crossing of the line from civility to despotism.”
“We are completely stupefied at the conduct of the Abia State Police, which has decided to exhume a colonial law from our statute book at a time like this,” the Guild said in the statement signed by Aishatu
Sule, its Deputy President.
“It tends to indicate that while the rest of the country is moving forward, the police in Abia are marooned in an inglorious past.
“If Mr. Wabara has broken any law of the land through his writings, the decent thing to do is to invite him to make explanations. If such explanations are unsatisfactory, he should then be charged to court.
“But to storm his home in commando fashion, and whisk him hundreds of kilometres away smacks of a country yet to come to the realities of democratic rule and civility. We cannot afford to remain consigned in such inglorious morass.
The Guild called on President Goodluck Jonathan and Mohammed Abubakar, the Inspector-General of Police, to intervene and ensure that “sanity prevails.”
“The Nigerian Guild of Editors calls for the immediate release of Mr Wabara, and if he then needs to answer any question, it should be done according to civil and decent norms.
“The media, alongside other patriotic institutions, fought for the democracy the country enjoys today,” the Guild added.
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