Nigerian Police detain PREMIUM TIMES publisher, journalist on ‘orders from above’

The Nigerian police stormed PREMIUM TIMES head office in Abuja Thursday, and arrested two of the newspaper’s staff after conducting search at the property.

The paper’s publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, was arrested alongside its judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu, by several plain-clothed officers who arrived the office shortly after 5p.m.

The journalists were taken to the Federal Capital Territory police headquarters at Garki 2, Abuja where they were held for hours before being transferred at about 9.22p.m. to the police office at Wuse, Abuja.

The officers in charge of the case at the FCT command told a PREMIUM TIMES’ lawyer who was at the station that they had “orders from above” not to release the journalists until Friday when they would be charged to court.

Police spokesman, Don Awunah, told PREMIUM TIMES earlier the raid and the arrests were carried out following complaints filed by lawyers for the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.

“We received complaints about defamation of character from his (Mr. Buratai) lawyers and we acted within the confines of the law,” he said.

When reminded that defamation of character is a civil case that Mr. Buratai should have pursued in the court of law, Mr. Awunah said he would try to establish if the matter involved criminal defamation.

“By tomorrow, I will know more details about the development and get back to you.”

The arrests came days after PREMIUM TIMES turned down the army’s demand to retract news stories about the Nigerian Army and its operations.

Mr. Buratai’s office had written to PREMIUM TIMES last month, demanding a full retraction of three news reports.
The Army alleged defamation against Mr. Buratai and also accused the paper of alleged sympathies to Boko Haram, allegations the paper strongly denied.

The letter was sent a few days after Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander of ‘Operation Lafiya Dole,’ warned the paper of serious consequences for the stories it ran concerning the military operations in the war-ravaged northeast.

In a detailed response, PREMIUM TIMES lawyers, led by Jiti Ogunye, rebuffed the Army’s claims and demanded that its authorities should, instead, apologise to the paper for the grievous and unfounded charges they levelled against the paper.

Gestapo tactics

Mr. Ogunye on Thursday condemned the raid on the newspaper’s office and demanded the immediate release of the arrested journalists.

Mr. Ogunye said the “Gestapo tactics” of the Nigerian government was a throwback to the “crudity of the military era” that no longer conforms with modern democratic norms.

“PREMIUM TIMES is not a threat to national security of Nigeria or peaceful co-existence of its good people. There is no good reason in law and in fact that warrants the police arresting the staff and publisher of the paper.”

The paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, said the paper would not be intimidated.

“They should stop deluding themselves that they can muzzle the press and intimidate PREMIUM TIMES,” said Mr. Mojeed. “They should know that our loyalty lies with our readers and the Nigerian people who have a right to know.”

The arrests have sparked widespread condemnations with global rights group, Amnesty International, demanding the immediate release of the journalists arrested.

“Nigerian security should ensure that they release @DapsyOly and Evelyn Okakwu or charge them to court immediately,” the rights group said.


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  • Political ninja

    This govt is making more enemies…….i know you people would be missing Gej you forced out with all the propaganda fed to you by apc. Your site aided buhari so enjoy.

    • West

      It was not only premium times that supported Buhari, many of us did, believing the man has turned new leaf but guess we know better now. Am afraid the dark days is gradually coming back.

      • Political ninja

        Happy you regret you actions. Peace be with you.

      • bulus

        If you’re not a imbecile, with a twisted head and convulated brains, what has the president got to do with the arrest of these locals?! Blackman!!!!

    • Mufu Ola

      Nobody except your likes is missing Jonathan.

      • Political ninja

        Indeed you are a mufu.

  • Dawood

    If Buratai loses his cool when someone says something about his mama, then he should get out of public service and become a priest. Arresting journalists for doing their jobs is ridiculous.

  • Höly Wähala

    Just like I suspected, whenever President Buhari travels out of the country shit hits the walls, this pre-meditated assault on freedom of the press/speech is not going to work in today’s world. Buhari and his Buratai bootleg have since neglected Amnesty Inte’l and Sheihk El-Zakzaky, I doubt that those guys will be as lucky as Omoyele Sowore and his own version of police ambush ati harassement. #Premium Times should not backdown or apologize for anything, Buratai should go and explain how come he bought mega property in Dubai barely days after he was appointed Army Chf. of Staff… Bulldung!

    • Yakubo Dangogo Dwong

      How do u expect Army T.h.i.e.f Burutai to ‘explain how come he bought mega property in Dubai’ when Mohammadu has not explained how come he owns a mega Hotel and other billion Naira property in Abuja?…and how come he has not presented a WAEC School Certificate but chose to hire 23 SANS to fight the case against forgery to which he has been charged? If Buhari has sin and go free because it doesn’t matter, any other hediot can. Pure & Simple. Leave Burutai alone. What is good for the house Dog is good for the bush Dog.

  • Walter Debosky

    Buhari barawo Buratai, barawo, QED

  • Wale Allen

    This is full-blown dictatorship. I’m happy the colluding and compromising media is now at the receiving end of the evil change. They supported the oppression and suppression of others under the guise of “change”.

  • Wetin Naija

    Fellow Nigerians, Buhari has officially started his full-blown dictatorship reign. Last week was Sahara Reporter and today is Premium Times. HELP.

  • Tunsj

    Very sad indeed. As one of the early supporter of President Buhari, I’m very disappointed that his government is going down this road. Do these clowns know the meaning of “Freedom of the Press” You have lost my support and credibility.

  • Netanyahu

    The mullah is in a panic mode and could like the bull in a china shop destroy everything in sight. We are really in trouble. Each time I look at the man’s face and see the kind of pains he is going through health wise in the name of being a president, it comes across to me he would not want to go down without dragging Nigeria to the mud. He is not a happy man that Nigerians rejected him 12 years ago when he was in a stable health to enjoy aso rock. PT should not worry. The army and police will get wise soon. They are witnesses to what is happening to yaya jammeh? Just cool down. They can lock up Dasuki, El zaizakky, kanu etc forever, when the chips are down, ICC will be beckoning.

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  • Ohnigeria Godsavenigeria

    If the rehearsal for the dance is like this, how will it be when the main almajiri dance and somersaults commences.
    By the time this guys finish with Nigeria, Nigerians shall be able to see why patriotic citizens warned Nigerians about giving power to a sleepwalking,old,tired,retired,clannish,bigoted,certificateless old man to preside over Nigeria. Shame bubu.shame on those who brought this disaster upon Nigeria because of hate and tribal bigotry.

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  • Nigerians unfairly arrested based on the allegations of another “offended” Nigerian, what sort of attempt at intimidation is this? Premium Times, please don’t give in to their tactics aimed at frustrating journalism on the one hand and denying us Nigerians our right to know on the other hand.

    I hope the President condemns this. These journalists must be released or charged to court immediately. All Nigerians should condemn this blatant disrespect for our rights.

    • Original_Raskal

      You forgot it was premium times that tinubu used to produce oluwole katsina result for boohari? Ho ho ho ho!

  • Adele Uhuru

    Yoruba ppl or should I say Tinubu you will get what you voted for quite soon–They are looking at you with vile disgust and know this, they will come for you in the dead of night while you and your babes sleep in your darkened Nigeria metropolis mansions just as they have done prior – wait for it, wait for it, wait for it =++++++

  • paul irumundomon


  • stanejike

    Hmm. This is just the beginning. When PT and SR were lavishly dishing out defamatory publications against GEJ so as to pave way for PMB and his Islamic foot soldiers to take over, little did they realise that a dictator knows no friend nor foe. It’s only a matter of time, and every Nigerian will have a little taste of his devastating fangs.

  • Eze

    I think we should not be too quick at equating this madness with buhari. PT and SR did their professional job exposing corruption and inefficiency during Jonathan’s time, hence I believe they have no regret for doing a professional job at the time. many of the wailing wailers then called them all sorts of names. but now I hope they can see clearly that these two media organizations are no respecters of any body. kudos to them! I salute your courage! as for the latest madness by buratai and police, I just wish they will come back to realise it is not business as usual.