The Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has called on the State Security Service (SSS) to release Tony Ezimakor, a journalist in its custody.
The CSO made the call in a statement signed by the Executive Director of CASER, Frank Tietie on Monday in Abuja.
Mr. Ezimakor is an editor with the Daily Independent Newspaper and was arrested on February 28 over a publication he wrote.
Mr. Tietie said that Mr. Ezimakor was arrested over the publication of an article in February alleging that Swiss Foreign Service agent connived with Nigerian government officials to steal millions of dollars to secure the release of the Chibok girls.
According to him, the article is said to reveal the intrigues surrounding the payments of millions of dollars by the Nigerian government as ransom for the release of some kidnapped Chibok School girls.
Mr. Tietie said that the writer of the article mainly expressed his opinion about the payment that it had empowered Boko Haram to wreak more havoc on Nigerians.
He said that such opinionated report should not have resulted to the arrest of the journalist for doing his work, according to the provision of the constitution.
“The professional journalist has a constitutional mandate by the provision of sections 39 and 22 of the Nigerian constitution; therefore, he is an authority in a democracy.
“He uses the journalistic privilege to write a news story that are opinionated and that makes him a big threat to corruption and bad governance.
Mr. Tietie called on the government and Nigerians at large to accord journalists the respect they deserved by promoting democratic governance through the dissemination of information.
He called on the SSS to summon courage and approach a court of law to seek an order against Mr. Ezimakor who is being compelled presently to disclose his source of information as against the ethics of the profession.
“This is the procedure as against the cheap use of state might to oppress a law abiding citizen who is merely discharging his constitutional duty,’’ he said.
He, however, called for the immediate release of Mr. Ezimakor without any condition pending the time the DSS would approach the court.