Outrage as PREMIUM TIMES journalists return to police station after arrests

Dapo Olorunyomi and Evelyn Okakwu after being released by the Nigerian Police

Two PREMIUM TIMES staff arrested but later released Thursday by the Nigerian police returned to the Abuja headquarters of the force early Friday, amid widespread outrage that followed the raid.

Plain-clothed officers stormed the paper’s office Thursday and arrested the publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, and judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu, after conducting search at the office.

They were later released on bail after several hours, and instructed to report at the FCT Police Command Headquarters by 8:00 a.m. Friday morning.

A highly-placed police source said the invitation could be a ploy to detain the journalists longer.

The police source said there were chances the two could be taken before a Magistrate’s Court.

“From what I understand, if they report tomorrow morning, they will be taken to a Magistrate’s Court and arraigned before a judge that will readily comply with the police arrangement and grant order for them to be detained,” the source said. “That way, they can then claim to be detaining them legally.”

The raid has sparked international condemnation, with the Amnesty International promising to launch an investigation into the motive behind it.

United State-based Committee to Protect Journalists called on the Nigerian authorities to drop all planned charges against the journalists and to desist from further attempts to intimidate the media.

“Arresting and charging publisher Dapo Olorunyomi and reporter Evelyn Okakwu is a transparent ploy to intimidate and silence Premium Times’ staff for their critical reporting,” CPJ West Africa Representative Peter Nkanga said.

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

Nigerians condemned the move as an attempt to intimidate the paper.

Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, said the arrests, coming weeks after the publisher of news website, Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, experienced similar treatment, as “worrisome and condemnable”.

“The increasing raids and arrests of Journalists by security agents points to a nation repulsive and allergic to free press and slowly gravitating towards authoritarianism,” Mr. Sani said in a statement Friday.

“Free press is sacrosanct. Elements in or out of Government intolerant to free speech and free press belong to the dark ages of military dictatorship.

“Attacks on the media damages the image of a nation and stains the credibility of its Government. The very media that championed our journey to freedom should not be rewarded with chains and shackles.

“It’s too early for those on the throne to forget their days in the trenches, when the media held the torch that alighted our path, through the dark and dicey path of struggle for change.”

A letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari, signed by Kadaria Ahmed, and other eminent Nigerian columnists, including Pius Adesanmi, Okey Ndibe, and Sonala Olumhense also condemned the raid.

“We expect the security services, who after all are the custodians of our laws, to lead by example by respecting these laws,” said the letter.

“Instead, what we see is a disturbing trend that suggests not just an attempt to criminalise the important work that journalists in Nigeria do, but also a drive to frighten and cower and stop this critical constitutionally mandated work through the aggressive use of the state security apparatus. We view this as an abuse of office.”


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  • M.O. Arese

    The Nigeria Police
    should release Dapo Olorunyomi, the Publisher of Premium Times, whose
    newspaper has become a national trust as the most respected and believed by the
    best educated ones in Nigeria and abroad. No good purpose is served by holding
    Dapo Olorunyomi for one more minute. President Buhari’s reputation at home and
    overseas will be the worse for it.

    The Police can’t pretend to be hard of hearing the clamorous groans that
    ₦800 billion is missing and deemed stolen in Lagos state treasury. The Police
    should arrest those who steal the treasury in broad daylight. They are the
    real public enemies; not Dapo Olorunyomi or the judicial correspondent of
    Premium Times. The Police can’t pretend to be hard of hearing the groans
    that ₦800 billion is missing and deemed stolen from Lagos state treasury.

    • Alkaliimaam

      The corruption BUHARI sweeps under carpet: CENTRAL BANK audit result

      • ₦38.23billion developed legs and got missing in Central Bank under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦160billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido at the Central Bank for self-determined spending.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken as spent by Sanusi Lamido on lunch for 12 CBN police guards
      in one year.
      • ₦1.12billion was taken in cash and entered in the account as paid to a non-operating airline
      for charter service.
      • ₦240billion was discretionally doled out at will as ‘donations’ by Sanusi Lamido.
      • ₦1.97billion was paid out in cash and entered on Central Bank accounts as “inexplicable
      expense” by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
      • ₦20billion was entered as paid out in cash as Legal Fees by Sanusi Lamido to persons
      unknown.
      • ₦3.086billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido and written off as expense ostensibly to promote
      Central Bank image.

      • Mosley

        If this is whistle blowing, then you are entitled to a whopping 5 or 10% of the total sum. Old boy, congratulation.

  • Buhari and his administration have committed another travesty in their desperate attempts to intimidate the press and the freedom of expression in general. We call on Buhari to retire General Buratai and Inspector General of Police immediately.

  • elvis

    so funny. you always get the leaders you deserve

  • Realnigerian

    Buhari is a failed President…

    • Bisi2000

      @disqus_EvQXen1JnG:disqus ,

      President Muhamadu Buhari never ran out of ideas, he never had any. He
      sought power just to hold the key to the treasury for the benefit of his
      favoured Muslims, northerners and Hausa/Fulani enablers. President Buhari is almost
      a total misfit as president in the 21st century. No schooling, no
      knowledge, no numeracy, no literacy, no morals. Within 60 days that he was
      sworn in President Buhari deceived naïve Nigerians he was thinking for the
      country whereas he was doing no such thing. He was rummaging the Central Bank
      of Nigeria whence he took one billion Naira in the first week of July 2015 and
      stuffed it into the back pocket of Brigadier Muhamed Buba Marwa (rtd) under a
      code of silence. Useless journalists without sense or awareness continued in
      folly, by shouting “Man of Integrity” at President Buhari who is far from it.

  • Xxxstealth

    @disqus_EvQXen1JnG:disqus: At last the Buhari government
    has started its long-predicted war against freedom of speech. It is par for the
    course that a failing government will sooner or later fight the media for
    exposing its foibles. The next two years will be bloody in Nigeria.

  • Say the truth

    The nation was warned to this tendency but the symphatizers of the government said all was well.

  • David Adeniran

    If Buhari doesn’t sack this irresponsible Army CXhief, he will eventually bring his government down.

    • Rommel

      The army chief has not done anything wrong by complaining to police in a perceived defamation case but it is for the police as law enforcement agents to follow the due process for such complaints,I would therefore like to see the law that empowered them to raid the office,this will determine what should happen

      • David Adeniran

        My brother, this is the same Army Chief that alleged to have choice houses in Dubai and the President maintained an irresponsible silence! Just as the President travelled out for medical check up or vacation, the same man caused the police to raid a major newspaper’s office and arrest their staff. He may turn out to be a fifth columnist in Buhari’s Government and I am sorry for anyone who doesn’t see this guy as dangerous and irresponsible. They should understand that this is not MILITARY ERA but a DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY where the Rule of Law must prevail over the might of the gun and anarchy.

        • Peter

          What do you expect from a military chief when the CinC himself has no respect for the rule of law?

        • kevenreal

          You are a very shameless person. If the victim was someone from further SS/SE, your mantra would have been “why are they afraid of police, let them defend themselves if they are innocent”

          • David Adeniran

            Can you see your inherent insanity and impatience that has always ruined your life? When are you going to free yourself from this generational irrational temper? Are you under CURSE that hardly will any of use discuss with common sense and decorum? Have you seen me supporting anti-press actions in the past? This one is an original mad man! The rage in your coconut head is legendary and of course it is inherited! The most apparent problem of your generation is that you have far more IMAGINARY ENEMIES than real enemies! You are undoubtedly the number one enemy of yourself!

      • kevenreal

        How is the change going??

  • Rommel

    I would like to see the law that empowered the police to raid the office and detain the said individuals on accusations of defamation against a public servant,we are aware that options exist for anyone who suffers from defamation,Nigerians must insist on knowing by what law the said action was carried out,it is instructive that the raids that were carried out on the judges had legal authorization,I would like to see what law or who authorized this raid.

  • donMe$$i

    There is no outrage anywhere.
    The APC minions(which included Premium Times before the bubble burst) had long given buhari and his security team a long leash to ride roughshod over Naijas with absolute disregard to the rule of law.
    ‘it is sometimes necessary to suspend the rule of law’, they said.
    Frankenstein’s monster is back to haunt them!
    STOP WAILING JOR!

  • ibsoken

    PT was part of the apc propaganda that brought PMB into power. It serves you right.

    • Peter

      Thank you. I did not know that there are people like me who can still remember the sordid contributions of Premium Times that helped to bring down the good work of Dr Jonathan. My brother, nemesis is at work.

  • VACANCY – DEAD Body counter

    Funny country. Nigeria is so useless and I wonder how long we can continue to pretend to ourselves. Just because of the love to continue to enjoy free wealth of a few regions we all decide to remain one country when we know how divided we all are. Just imagine a simple case of counting dead bodies becomes what Nigeria can not do in 2017 i.e., over 2,000 years that Arithmetic was discovered by the Greek.

    — Sahara Reporters says 200 dead.
    — APC media organ and government sympathizer which pretends to be impartial (Premium Times) says only 52 dead
    — MSM says 170+
    — Eye witnesses and IDP residents say 200+

    So which of the above is correct? Do we have to hire experts from Australia (As Minister of Mines – Dr Fayemi has done by hiring Australians to prospect for and mine Solid Minerals)? This is sickening! If we can’t count dead bodies how can CBN and/or Finance Minister count our money and ascertain our foreign reserves, debts etc? I hope Nigerians can now see the effect of having a man with F9 in Maths and no Certificate in charge of a country’s economy.

  • Pete

    Where is the Outrage? How can PT say outrage when people are actually celebrating? Can PT list the names of those Nigerians who are outraged that a Publisher who never states the name or family name of a suicide bomber has been arrested?

    • kevenreal

      If those people at PT have nothing to hide, why are they afraid to go to court or police to clear their names? That is a typical argument of most yorobas when the victim is from SS/SE. Now their propaganda outfits are hurting, their line of argument has changed.

      • Gary

        Thanks for reminding us about the hypocrisy of the Yoruba Press in birthing the Frankenstein that now threatens to devour them.
        When we pointed out that the due process rights of Tompolo, Kanu, Dasuki and FFK should be upheld, we were derided and branded as suppporters of corruption and ethnic champions.

        Now it is happening to them. What goes around, comes around.

    • Jammie

      Thank u Bro. God bless u.

    • Lick Spittle Pete

      How much is your groveling shamelessness really worth Mr. Pete
      lick-spittle? Na wa ooo man must wack sha

  • oyoko

    I don’t see any buhala in all this. You are invited by police, hornour the invitation. If you are brought before a Magistrate go there and present your case. No one is above the law, be you a judge or journalist. Stop this sentimentalized write up!

  • Mo

    Weep not child!

    Weep not child,
    For you were warned,
    But were beclouded by sentiments,
    Propaganda last but a while and
    It’s become apparent that the emperor wears no cloth and delinquent as warned
    So, weep not child.

  • bulus

    Now the press has added themselves to our endless growing list of “above the law”….which include but not limited to avengers, herdsmen, kidnappers, ipob, judiciary, senators, house members, CAN, militants to mention a few…we need someone ruthless to stop this madness cos its obvious our mutual friend pmb has been “cabalized” by the cabal…outrage..what a laugh!

  • Philomena

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • Ndidi

    …let the police bring masked witnesses to testify against the useless Publisher the way they plan to do for Comrade Kanu (Biafran Leader)

  • Otile

    We know it, we know that Yorubas will eventually betray Imam Mohamed Buhari. The only sold friends left for Imam are his tribesmen Fulani herdsmen and Fulani killers the military. We now see why he can never fire or hurt his Fulani people even if a group of them behead a todler in a public square.

    • Haba mallam

      The baboon from the creek

      • ccc

        I prefer a baboon to your prophet from hell pedophile mohammed.

        • Haba Mallam

          That’s why you’re what you’re, worthless piece of shit, you will forever be under our rule.

      • aerekosima

        The baboon buhari from the Sahara desert, you mean?

      • Otile

        The reptile from the Sahara desert.

        • Haba Mallam

          You mean lion of the desert, proudly

          • Otile

            You mean donkey of the desert, shamefully

          • Anonymous

            I hope you are not referring Daura weakling as the lion of the desert?

  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    And to think that Premium Times, Sahara Reporters and the entire Nigerian media establishment helped to enthrone this government by deliberately damaging the Jonathan Administration! It’s really comeuppance time. I have no sympathy for the duo.

    • Mufu Ola

      Juvenile mentality! So SR, PremiumTimes “helped” this administration.Are they complaining to u they regret “helping”? Or the thieving Jonathan govt should have been helped to continue looting? Omo Oba Ilu wo ni e gan?? Fake titles.

  • tony H

    Abeg, dis na family matter. Saraki Reporters ati Premium Times are just getting a reminder who is their daddy. .

  • thusspokez

    Two PREMIUM TIMES staff arrested but later released Thursday by the Nigerian police returned to the Abuja headquarters of the force early Friday, amid widespread outrage that followed the raid.

    PM should sue the Nigerian police for false arrest.

    The nature of the arrest is a threat to Nigerian journalism, press freedom and freedom of speech, hence the law suit should be a concerted effort by the Nigerian Union of Journalism (or organisation to that effect). Such law suit would use the Freedom of Information Act to expose the corruption and communication between the Nigerian police chiefs and the Buratai camp leading to the arrest and after.

  • MC

    All these reports have only succeeded in sensationalizing the news of their arrest. What are they being accused of? Are these journalists above arrest? Is there really a possibility of libel to either Tukur or any other person?

    Publisher of premiumtimesng is a guy I know but he, just like Sowore of saharareporters, became unprofessional during presidential campaigns of Buhari and Jonathan. They used their newspapers to launch smear campaigns under
    Dr Gej; sometimes publishing false and libelous stories in an effort to give Buhari an advantage over the good Dr Gej! These men, and many South westerners connived to foist the delinquent Buhari on us. Perhaps, their consciences were bought, perhaps they were angling for positions or just hatred for the south-eastern/south-south regions. These men connived in foisting Buhari on us even though they knew his precedents!

    Until these men apologize for injustices which they meted on Dr Gej, I would never waste sympathy on them. Besides, these arrests would make them appreciate the free press and better economy enjoyed under Dr Gej.

  • AFRICANER

    The pattern continues.If you recall, when Buhari arrested his nemesis such as Dasuki, he often was stowed away in Britain. Every time he did anything dictatorial, he did so from abroad. He is the ultimate puppet, and a coward.

    When Zik was fighting for our independence, the Hausa-Fulani begged the British not to give independence. They are still their slaves and sabos!

  • Patrick Oguejiofor Sr.

    Premium Times Newspaper was one of the newspaper houses that sang praises for Buhari. The paper was one of the very powerful platforms that aided Buhari to come onboard as Nigeria’s president. Premium Times, like ex-president Obama, helped to undermine Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s regime and helped bring Buhari to power. Now they are in position to realize why we had our reservations about Buhari. That notwithstanding, my sympathy goes to the innocent journalists who are being punished for doing their job.

  • obiora

    We are the proud wailing Wailers. SO the Wailers get it right.

  • Arogbo

    The arrest was a dumb move by this administration to intimidate and stifle the press. I just want to know what Shehu Garba and Adesina have to say about this on a day when the greatest democracy in the world United States is inaugurating her president.

  • blueeyedkitten

    this is nothing but a storm in a tea cup. are journalists above the law? what sorts of unecessary hysteria is this?
    why do people always think the security agencies are the bad guys, while the media are the goodfellas?

  • Mufu Ola

    Let’s be serious here. Illegal raid on media houses is condemnable but journalists should not give the impression they are above law.People are arrested & detained everyday. So what’s the big deal?

  • East west

    Why arresting him?
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  • Mosley

    When they were druming support for APC there was nothing wrong, now than the ‘change’ has changed, the drum beats at Premium Times have also changed, thereby drawing the battle line.

  • Damilola

    Nemesis: GEJ must really be a hard man to conspire against. From within and without, all are getting a token taste of their pills. America got hers with Trump, Nigeria getting hers on daily basis. But why wud dis retard bigots forget so easily the role played by the media, including this very one, in the conspiracies dt bought em on board? Buhari’s wife has said it all; the cabals knew nothing of d backstage rehearsals. God save PT and d next one from their shadows. At the end, I’m sure dis wud end up well for d masses

  • thusspokez

    The big question: Is PremiumTimes above the law?

    A few posters on this forum have asked this rather lazy question. The question would imply that the person asking it knows that no person or organisation in Nigeria is above Nigerian law. So why ask the question in the first place since you already know the answer?

    The question also presupposes that law enforcement officers never make false or wrong arrest, and that anyone they arrest must have broken the law. Is this true in Nigeria?

  • callistus u owuamanam

    The chief of army staff is always on the news. He is supposed to be changed to the minister of internal affairs. This is nigerian democracy, instead of a judge authorizing police to arrest a suspect, the COAS does. Nigeria democracy, where everything is possible.